"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life...I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it." Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
|"It doesn't have to be perfect..."|
In her wonderful book on writing she shows us that perfectionism is detrimental, because when striving for it in our manuscripts, we try not to leave too much of a mess to clean up. But she points out that the clutter we leave behind can hide precious treasures that we'll discover later. And those treasures can be put to good use by providing more material to work with once we go back to revise and edit.
Being too tidy, according to Ms. Lamott, suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. In a previous post here, not looking back when writing a manuscript was discussed.
The important thing is to finish. Plow ahead, make a mess! Don't worry about every little detail or whether or not it's polished enough. That comes later, at revision time.
Have fun with that first draft; avoiding perfectionism allows a really great story to unfold! Do you struggle with perfectionism? Thanks for visiting and have a great day!