Word Perfect

(Los Angeles) One woman rediscovers that perfectionism is an unwise goal in writing. The realization came after a nearly two-year hiatus from writing.

“I thought writing would just ‘happen,'” the woman shared. “Like, once I decided I was going to write again, everything would be perfectly phrased, witty, and brilliant.”

But the goal of perfection can have several drawbacks, according to official sources.

One, perfectionism can prevent someone from ever even trying. By only seeking perfection, one can easily turn down opportunities where perfection cannot be guaranteed.

This occurred when the woman encountered an opportunity to submit a short story for publication consideration.

“Up until that time, I had only been blogging,” said the woman. “I did not feel confident that anything I wrote could be publish-worthy.”

But the woman was inspired by a random idea and in several hours, completed a short story for submission. Several months later, her story was in print in an anthology and sold on Amazon.

If the woman remained in her comfort zone and never tried to write in a different voice or form, she would never have been able to share her odd story with the world. And, it gave her the confidence to continue writing.

Perfectionism can also cause someone to feel great disappointment in an outcome. When expectations run unreasonably high, one can only feel complete success or utter failure – nothing in between.

“My first paid writing job was an article for an online magazine,” recounted the woman. “It was a notable publication by my estimation and I loved my topic, so I was thrilled when it was accepted!”

But the woman’s excitement soon waned as online comments and criticism starting coming in. Official sources reported that the woman took the criticism in stride.

“No,” recalled the woman, “it was horrible. [The comments] were not even that bad, but I learned I do not have a thick skin.”

“I took those comments to mean I did a poor job,” the woman continued, “as if it is possible to receive no negative comments. But I realize now that was the wrong way to think about it.”

“Those critics just did not have good taste.”

By judging experiences through perfectionism, it can prevent someone from realizing the truth: it is all about the journey.

When asked why the woman enjoyed writing, she laughed.

“Do I enjoy it?,” wondered the woman aloud.

But upon further reflection, she compared it to her once-strong love for running.

“There is a musicality – a rhythm to running and writing that I try to recreate. Finding the word that feels right, leading up to a funny ending… It can be tough to imagine that it will happen. And sometimes it does not.”

“But when I find it, it makes me happy.”

Happiness is not a destination but a journey, reported sources and dorm room posters everywhere. And for one woman, happiness means writing without the burden of perfection.

“So I end a story with a less funny ending. Or I get some criticism,” said the woman. “Writing means I get to say what I want.”

“And then re-edit it. And then one last time.”

(image source)


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