Perfectionism. I’d say it’s normal writer stuff.
Of course we want to write the best words, the best passages, the best ideas. And, of course we may sometimes find ourselves intimidated by the pressure of wanting/trying/hoping we’ll write just that. On the first draft, of course. God forbid we aspire to less.
Perfectionism is like a so-ugly-it’s-back-to-cute monster we feed with a pound of our writing flesh. Daily. Hourly. Perfect sentence by perfect sentence.
How to handle this monstrosity? Embrace it. Celebrate its existence. Make it your pet, give it a pat on its hairy head, then get to work: butt in chair. Churning out words. Let it snore and drool and twitch its plate-sized paws in your lap. After awhile, it’ll grow on you. You won’t be able to imagine writing without it.
Perfectionism can be a savior: saving you from submitting half-baked garbage, keeping you on your perfect toes and goading you to aim higher than you ever thought possible.
Perfectionism likes literary company. Read in your genre, read for pleasure, read to learn how other writers harness craft, read for an idea of what the market supports. This blog post came from just that; reading of another writer’s struggle with perfectionism. So, also read to discover you’re not alone.
And then, get writing. You’re a writer, after all, and you have
mouths a monster to feed.
Monster art by Tom Friedman, from his Monsters And Stuff exhibition.