How To Get Rid Of Writer Perfectionism #AmWriting #writers

You start out writing as a fresh-faced and enthusiastic newbie writer, merrily sending out your work into the world. In your head it is simply a matter of time before you get spotted by a literary agent or publisher. During this early stage you don’t seem to worry too much about your work because it’s amazing and perfect!  Yay!

Then you realise that your writing has weaknesses. Its not perfect or amazing. This is one of the most emotional and tear jerking stages for any writer. You reach this stage via some stinging feedback, followed by a period of comparing your work to a load of successful high-profile authors, followed by some more painful feedback. The literary penny drops and you realise your writing is not perfect! *Scream*

You start to read every book on writing technique and every blog post on improving your writing. You write thousands of words and come up with hundreds of plot ideas, all of which you delete. During this frenzied state you set an unachievable level of writing perfection in your head.

If what you write does not match the level of perfection in your head – you bin it. You are ruthless, frantic and exhausting. Nothing is finished because you don’t deem it to be perfect.

You never question the ridiculous level of quality that you are expecting yourself to attain and sadly you never create anything. Say hello to writer perfectionism!

Here’s how to get rid of this pesky writer ailment:

  1. Chant the maxim ‘done is better than perfect.’  Include it in an early morning affirmation.  You need to start finishing your work, regardless of its quality. It is vital that you break the cycle of not finishing anything, as this will eventually erode your moral. You can then use later drafts to refine and change it.
  2. Remember no one dies or starves as a result of your sagging plot or lifeless characters. At the end of the day it’s just writing.
  3. Accept that you will never produce perfect writing as this cannot be produced. Every piece of writing can be improved upon. Even famous authors produce work which isn’t perfect.
  4. If you are set on being a perfectionist do this through spelling and grammar.
  5. Read this quote from Anna Lamott:

‘Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t die. The truth is you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you and have a lot more fun while they are doing it.’ Anne Lamott

So, ditch the pursuit of perfection and start writing!

Have a great day folks!


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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

41 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Writer Perfectionism #AmWriting #writers

  1. I am definitely a practitioner of writer’s perfectionism… I still haven’t overcome it. Hopefully one day I will.

      1. Yes, writing is so hard sometimes… perhaps they should do a health warning on books…. authors beware lots of tears and tissues required to reach your final goal.. Keep on going and smiling. Happy Sunday. 🙂

  2. Men (well this one!) are born with an imperfection gene or two …imperfection bliss okay with me…whose the judge anyway…must go wife just called…apparently something I did wrong!

  3. I struggle with being a perfectionist writer. I’m slowly coming out of it, but it’s difficult letting my work stand on its own merit. I’m willing to admit my flaws and weaknesses, but not willing to let them be and be okay with them. Hopefully, I will overcome this perfectionist way of thinking, just as I have overcome sharing my work with other people.

  4. Oh, the struggle is real – in all stages. I’m no way near stage 5 yet. I’m a total perfectionist – with a capital ‘P’. I know it’s a lost cause, chasing perfection but it’s a habit hard to turn. But fortunately, I’ve overcome my fear of writing fiction (even if it’s what I really want to be doing) and actually sharing my work.Let’s forget it’s all a process.

  5. You’re post gave me a lot to ponder. I’m at imperfection ‘almost bliss”. I’ve come to realize the imperfections are part of the process of ‘getting there’ or getting closer to what I want. When I get to that point I send out a query and go through that line of fire.
    As one goes through each stage you described more and more writers fall by the wayside. The ones who get up, find out what went wrong, start again and keep writing are likely to get to the finish line (whatever that is for the individual writer). Writing is a test of commitment.

  6. Fine description of the writer’s journey. I always thought it was good to pursue perfection as long as I understood that I would never achieve it. And after years of practice I’m starting to become good at writing. 🙂

  7. This sounds about right, but I would add that sometimes its about what you are writing. When I’m working on my novel I seem to stay mired in stage three, but I blog on stage five. That’s probably why I spend more time on my novel, and neglect the blog. Some of us just like the fight.

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