Inspiration & Encouragement, Writing

A Perfect Realization

It has officially been much too long since I’ve blogged. I’ve decided to blame it on the end of this semester, as finals are fast approaching and time to accomplish my assignments continues to decrease. Instead of beating myself up about how long it has been since I’ve posted, I’m going to let myself off the hook this time and address a much bigger issue that has been holding me back for far too long…

Perfectionism: a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less (Dictionary.com)

A perfectionist will strive extremely hard to have absolutely no inconsistencies or failures, and if this cannot be achieved, often he or she will become angry or emotional at others and his or her self. I am not simply observing these people from afar and pointing a judgmental finger at them, I am speaking from personal experience.

Hello, my name is Mackenzie Morgan, and I am a recovering perfectionist.

I am most definitely my own worst critic. I’m a super understanding person when it comes to other people’s mistakes, but I will scold myself for days if I do or say one stupid thing. I suppose I just admitted that I’m a hypocrite, because I hold myself to different standards than the entire population of the human race. How is that fair? It’s not! There is absolutely no way I will ever be perfect, because only God is perfect. Not allowing myself to make mistakes and learn from them in a less anxious and critical manner has caused me many years of stress that cannot be erased, but I have finally realized… this must change!

How does this topic fit in with this blog that is all about pursuing dreams?

I am so glad you asked! Perfectionism can hold us back in ways that we can’t even imagine, and in my own experience, it especially tends to kill my stories. I will have an idea that I am so stoked about and in one night, I might crank out four chapters. Then, the next day I’ll go back, and my worst enemy kicks in…my perfectionist attitude will find so many things wrong with the characters and their backgrounds, the setting, or maybe the placement of a specific event, that I will feel the need to rewrite the whole novel before I’ve even finished half of it. This can cause major setbacks! I had a professor once tell the class that we were not allowed to edit anything until after we had finished our first draft. He said writers were allowed to have a bad first draft because it helps to get all the stuff swimming around in our minds down on paper. Maybe I need to apply his approach more often… I need to let myself work hard enough to finish things all the way through without finding so much fault in them before they’re finished, and for me, this is in every aspect of my life, not just writing.

So, dear readers, if you’re also a recovering self-critic, join me in this journey of taking a deep breath, enjoying the moment, and letting ourselves jump into our next adventure without letting the fear of failure hold us back. After all, isn’t that really the root of perfectionism? And, for those writers who have already overcome this issue and have tips on completing a novel without getting in your own way, your wise advice will be sincerely appreciated!

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