On Being a Sloppy Perfectionist: 500 Words | Day 9

Welcome to Day 9 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more.  For more on that click here:  goinswriter.com

I just started writing.

I had to because I’ve been sitting here staring at my computer screen wondering what to write about which is defeating the purpose of this whole exercise.

The point is write . . . just write . . . don’t overthink it.

I had to sit and think about that for a while.  I’m better now.

I am evidently an overthinker.  I also think I might be a sloppy perfectionist which completely breaks my stereotype of what a good perfectionist should be.  In my brain a perfectionist is Type A.  Neat and tidy.  Everything lined up and in order.  Everything well planned out.  Everything executed with timely precision.  Everything . . . well . . . perfect.

That’s not me so clearly I can’t be a perfectionist.

I recently heard a quote though that blew the whole thing open for me.

“Perfectionism leads to procrastination which leads to paralysis.”

That . . . is me.

That is me staring at a computer screen, afraid to just start typing.  Worried that it won’t be perfect.  Paralyzed.  That is me searching for hours for the right picture to perfectly illustrate a blog post and never surrendering to the truth that it just doesn’t matter that much.  That is me waiting weeks between posts.  That is me having a great idea, getting excited about it, making notes, doing research, writing three paragraphs and saying, “meh, this is stupid.”  That is me saying for years, “I’ve started writing a book” and never finishing one.

I’ve got multiple unfinished books.

My favorite is “It Helps if They Think You’re Stupid.”

I love it.  I love the concept.  I love what it breaks open about living cross culturally.

And the first chapter is fabulous.  I have read it to multiple audiences and it always gets a great reaction . . . except once and I actually changed it because someone was offended.

But it is a chapter doomed to stay single and paralyzed because I can’t quite get the next 12 chapters perfect.

I think I need to get better at doing things poorly.  I need to be alright with putting something out there that might not be life changing or influential or even thought provoking.

I need to sit down and just start writing.

I can feel the tension in my chest just thinking about it though.  What if people don’t like it? What if people stop reading everything because not everything is helpful?

I overthink.

I overplay the consequences in my head.  Here’s a test.

What if I stopped writing my 500 words today at 436 words?

Done.

 

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