Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Letting Go Is Hard To Do
Do you ever get caught up in the net of perfectionism? I totally agree that writing well, having a good grasp on the craft of writing is important. But when does mastering craft morph into the hideous monster of perfectionism?
The fear of getting something wrong can be paralyzing. It can grab a writer by the throat and send them trembling to their knees. Well, maybe it's not that bad, but it can stifle creativity. Brain research indicates that when the Amygdala is screaming it's not safe (ie. having an emotional reaction like fear), the rest of the brain isn't interested in functioning. It just wants to get back to the status quo and feel happy and snuggly-safe again..
What can we do then, if we are stuck in the process of making everything perfect? At some point, we have to let go. We have to accept that maybe our work isn't the best of anything, while acknowledging it has value in and of itself. We have to get to the point that we recognize we've done our best and it's time to move on.
Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Having a typo isn't instant writer career death. That's the Amygdala talking. As stated in the quote above "life goes on." With each new story or novel, poem or essay, we will grow and learn and get a little closer to perfection. It's okay for us to not know everything at any given time.
The only thing that can stop us from being successful writers is not writing. I'd add never finishing what you start, too. Oh--and not letting other people see our work, ever. In other words, if we don't have anything to offer to readers, we are going to fail. If we have a pretty good story, even if it's not the best, we have a start. And then we can only improve.
Posted by Lara Schiffbauer