You’re sitting at your desk and the words won’t come.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
It can feel impossible to fill the blank page when the inspiration isn’t there.
How to Embrace Imperfection as a Writer
As a writer, it’s easy to fixate on your mistakes, like a poor first draft or your inability to find that perfect word when you need it most.
Fortunately, the solution to your writer’s block is easy—you just need to go for a walk in your pajamas. Let me explain.
Stop Trying To Be Perfect
In his book How To Be An Imperfectionist, Stephen Guise reminds us that perfectionism is an unhelpful trait because it leads to doubt, rumination, and an unwillingness to escape our comfort zones. He argues that instead of trying to be perfect all the time, we should always strive to do imperfect things to avoid getting tripped up over our mistakes.
One night recently, I knew I really needed to go for a walk, but I found too many things blocking my path. I was in my pajamas, I hadn’t showered, and what would people think of me—I knew the longer I thought about these things the less likely I would go.
So instead of waiting for my brain to knock me into submission, I walked out the door, pajamas and all. It worked because it got me to do something I knew I should do but could easily overthink myself into “not-doing.”
Just Start Writing
If we don’t do something out of a fear of rejection, we’ll always fail because we’ll never take the first steps towards growing as a writer.
As Sheryl Sandberg says, “Done is better than perfect.” Stop trying to make your writing exactly how you imagined it to be and just get it done—because in the end, there is no such thing as “perfect” (and even if such a thing exists, it would be nigh impossible to reach).
I used this process of imperfection to write a novel, and write on days when I didn’t feel like doing anything at all because it works—and I believe it can work for you too.
So, embrace your inner-imperfectionist. You might just find that your writing will benefit immensely, and feel more real and raw than ever before.
Even if it’s truly terrible, you can always come back and fix it later, piece by broken piece.
Do you ever struggle to write because of a desire to be perfect? Let us know in the comments.
Pull up your favorite word processor, and get ready to write imperfectly!
Set a timer for fifteen minutes and just write—write past the doubts and the guilt and the shame, and write past the regret. Write whatever comes to mind, and don’t stop to think about why you’re doing this exercise or what you’re writing about exactly. The only rule is to write away the blank page and fill it with words.
Make sure to share your results in the comments below, and don’t forget to encourage other writers to keep pushing on, despite their doubts!