It’s Okay To Not Always Be Perfect

Staring at the blank page, waiting for the perfect words to appear has stressed me out for years. Until very recently, I would start typing, then delete everything, type again, and then delete it again. I would repeat this process until I was exhausted, and I had no writing done. All because I deleted everything that I didn’t think was perfect.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that focusing on being perfect the time around leaves me too petrified to even attempt to move forward. I get so overwhelmed that these words are not good enough that I never put words on paper.

The first draft is going to be rough. The point is not to have the fully edited, ready to go to print story done when you finish the first draft; the point is to have the draft done so that you can go back and start working over the rough patches, smoothing out the problems, and tying the story tighter together.

Some quick and dirty ways I’ve found to keep myself from tearing up my work for not being perfect on the first draft.

1. Time yourself.

When I’m writing against the timer, I give myself a goal. Say, 1000 words in 15 minutes. Then I’m focusing on writing, not on nitpicking everything that I write.

 

2. Write on paper

Writing on paper in pen makes me a lot less likely to go back.

 

3. Don’t allow yourself to go back.

Once your cursor has moved past a word, don’t allow yourself to go back. This will take some practice, but eventually you can keep at it.

 

It’s never an easy task, and some of what you write that first draft is going to be deleted later on, but during the initial process, focus on getting the story out, and then you can polish.

How do you get past the fear of not writing the perfect words every time?

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2 Comments »

  1. andreakbeltran Said:

    I find that writing everything on paper helps me most.

  2. Eric Said:

    Of course it’s okay to be imperfect. Nobody is perfect, ever.


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