When I speak with writers about what’s getting in the way of them finishing their projects I tend to hear the following reasons:
- Lack of time
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of momentum
And then I hear … I’m worried that it’s not good enough – so I just keep fiddling with it.
Just so you know – the endless fiddling isn’t you improving your work, it’s fear thwarting your writing goal. And you know I’m right…
Here’s the thing – if you’re waiting for your work to be perfect you’re going to be waiting for a very long time. If you can’t share your work until it’s perfect you’re going to be waiting a very long time. Sure, you’ll be safe from potential criticism and rejection but your work is never going to see the light of day.
And I don’t know many people who write for the audience in their bottom drawer.
So if perfectionism (aka cunningly desired fear) is getting in the way of your productive writing – here are some thoughts to consider.
- Writing is a messy, imperfect process – so why do you expect your work to be perfect?
- You’re going to get it wrong at some point – especially if you’re a new-ish writer. You’re going to get things wrong even if you’re not!
- Getting critical feedback is invaluable to you as a writer and will help you improve your craft. You can’t get that if you don’t finish your work.
- There’s no prize for being perfect. Seriously – zero prizes!
- Perfectionism is stopping you finishing because after you’ve finished the next step is invariably putting your work out into the world. Never finishing means never having to show anyone your work = your work is NEVER seen. And that’s sad.
- Everybody wants their work to be amazing! Plenty of successful and talented writers struggle with getting their work bang on. The difference is they don’t let that worry stop them finishing their project. They finish, then they may go through the agonies of self-doubt and then they rewrite.
- What’s worse? Feelings of self-loathing because you never finish your story OR someone (directly or indirectly) telling you your story needs more work?
- What’s the worse thing that could happen if you get negative feedback? And just so you know – everybody gets negative feedback at some point. And getting it helps you build creative resilience.
Want some support to keep your project on track? Check out my Writing Room page.
©Kathryn Burnett 2018 – For reprinting permission please get in touch via my contact page.