Paralyzed by Perfectionism

Written by GuestAuthor

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When Angie asked me to write for Project Blissful I have to admit, I was honored, stoked, excited and so very ready. I had wanted to be a writer for so long and here was my chance, being laid out before my very eyes – practically handed to me on a silver platter. The website is there, the readership is there, all I had to do was provide some content and Lord knows I have a lot of content just screaming to get out. Perfect.

Then two solid weeks went by and I wrote a grand total of four hundred really lousy words. They weren’t even close to being good. Unreadable. Un-entertaining. Unworthy. Seriously crap stuff.

The rest of my evenings I spent not writing but browsing Disneyworld websites looking for tips and trips for our upcoming vacation. And by upcoming, I mean in December. Hardly right around the corner.

Then I decided “Sarah, clearly you don’t have time for taking on this project”. I armored myself with my list of excuses pulling on each shield piece by piece.

Sarah – You work forty hours a week. You have a five year old who needs attention. You hardly get to see your husband so on the evenings he’s home you don’t want to be tapping away at a keyboard. You really do need to read, for the hundredth time, the quickest way to see Mickey Mouse once entering the Magic Kingdom. Oh, and don’t forget, you’re just too tired. Rightfully so, you work forty hours a week and have a five year old. Oh, wait. I already used that one…

I fitted myself with the biggest suit of excuse armor I could find and prepared a speech as to how I would tell Angie I just couldn’t do it. I eased into the conversation “man, it’s harder than I expected it to be Angie”. To which she replied “I don’t expect perfection”.

And this will sound so cheesy stupid that you may never ever want to read another word that I write ever again but that was a light bulb moment for me. I know exactly why I haven’t written jack in the past two weeks. I am a perfectionist and nothing I can produce is good enough for other eyeballs to witness.

I have to be entertaining. I have to write well. I have to have people want to read more of my “stuff’. It all has to be good, every single word, and I want to be liked and I don’t want to fail and I’m pretty sure it all has to be perfect the first time through. I could never post anything that isn’t awesome and since I can’t write anything awesome, then by default, I can’t post anything.

I’ve felt totally imperfect and just not good enough. It’s been total paralysis. I can’t think where to start. I can’t come up with a good idea. I have no clue what people want to read.  My mind and vision is blank. I can’t remember where to coffee pot is to give myself a caffeine boost and potentially jumpstart my butt into some sort of gear. I freeze.

But Angie kept saying things to me… nice things. I’m sure she had no clue what she was really doing for me but she was my anti-freeze. She even gave me the idea to share about my perfection paralysis. Within minutes I had opened up five blank word documents and written the titles to my next five posts with little taglines so I would remember the genius that was to follow that title.

Her perception of what great material I could produce and my own perception of what I could feebly manage to crank out were somewhat skewed, to say the least.

All I really needed was a little confidence boost, that tiny “of course you can” whispered to me and off I went like a cannon. I needed the permission to not be perfect, to just do what I do and really, so what if it isn’t perfect every time. It doesn’t have to be!

Angie said so.

Are you a perfectionist? Does it ever hold you back from trying something new?

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