Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Procrastination, Perfectionism and Me

I can't deny it, I am a procrastinator! If I spent half as much time doing things as I spend thinking about doing things I would be a much more productive person. A prime example would be this blog which I have thought about doing for months before, finally, just jumping into it. I'm not generally a jumper...I'm a planner.

I think it is important to note that my procrastination does not stem from laziness, but from my least when it comes to writing.
This wasn't always the case, however. There was a time when I wrote freely, with little regard to form or function. A time more commonly known as my youth.
When you're a kid everything is possible. Your future is not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when." I was going to be a writer when I grew up.  Not, if I graduated from college or if I found time while raising my children or if could find a publisher to accept my work. I just believed it would be. It was that simple.

Then I turned 18 and started to wonder just how practical becoming a writer would really be (there is another word we overlook as children, "practical"). So I became, undeclared, stuck between what I knew I wanted and what I thought I needed. I now refer to this as "writer's purgatory" and I think it is something a lot of writers/artists experience at some point or another.
It was during this period that the perfectionist weaseled its way into my writing time. I was convinced that the only practical way to be a professional writer was to be a perfect one. Every plot, every line, every word needed to be just right or I would never get anywhere.
The result? I went from writing all the time to barely writing at all. It sucked...a lot.

So, how does one escape from writer's purgatory, to roam freely in writer's heaven?
It is definitely a process, but here is what I can tell you about my journey.

I would have never made it this far if I didn't have a friend who believed in me. Who believed in me even more than I believed in myself and refused to let me give up.
I think the most important things you can do as a writer are to surround yourself with people who support and believe in you and to always, always, write for yourself first. Write with passion, even when it's garbage because it is the only way to reach the good stuff hidden in inside you and trust is there!

Bringing things around full circle, from child to adult, I have to include this incredible quote from Jim Henson's Muppets because some things never change, no matter how old we get.

"If just one person believes in you
Deep enough and strong enough
Believes in you hard enough and long enough
Before you knew it, someone else would think
'If he can do it, I can do it'
Making it two. Two whole people who believe in you
And maybe even you can believe in you too."
~ Robin and the Muppet Gang

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