Confessions of a Perfectionist Writer

by Kellie McGann | 72 comments

Almost all of the personality tests I've taken allude to my desire to be perfect. I'm a perfectionist writer. It is the way I'm wired, and it has a huge effect on my writing.

Confessions of a Perfectionist Writer

The word perfectionist can often have a fairly negative connotation. When I think of a “perfectionist” I often picture a meticulous, detailed, angry person sitting at a desk with a magnifying glass, pointing out my mistakes. But that's not all there is to perfectionism. Like everything, there are good and bad sides to it.

Even if you're not a full-blown perfectionist, you probably have some perfectionist tendencies, and I bet they influence the way you work and write. Let's deal with them.

The Positive Side of Being a Perfectionist Writer

I've found that being a perfectionist isn't always about being perfect but also about constantly wanting to improve and grow. The positive side of perfectionism is a motivating belief that our work, our writing, and ourselves can be made better daily.

I've found that my perfectionism comes from believing in something like this:

Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: The future can be better than the present. And I have the power to make it so.
—David Brooks

Perfectionists have the belief that we can constantly be making things better. Who I am will never allow myself to stop improving, or believe that “what I do now, and who I am now is good enough.

For that, I am thankful to be a perfectionist.

4 Downfalls of Perfectionism in Writing

Although I believe being a perfectionist can be of great value, in writing, being a perfectionist can often be more harm than good.

1. Perfectionism Stops You From Publishing

Our perfectionism tells us, “This isn't good enough. Don't show this to the world. It's not ready.” We listen to our perfectionism and constantly rearrange sentences, change words, and stare at the same sentence for hours. We eventually get to the point where there's nothing left to “fix” but our perfectionism still tells us, “It's not good enough.” So we save our post as a draft, never daring to show the world our potential imperfections.

Solution: Just do it. Publish despite your fears. There are very few times in our writing lives that we'll think, “This is absolutely perfect!” So publish and learn from your mistakes.

2. Perfectionism Kills Your Productivity

Perfectionism never lets us finish. We get caught up on that one sentence, crafting it to perfection, and three hours later we realize how much time has passed. This happens to me with titles. Titles can be the most important part of our posts, but they're also not worth spending hours on.

Solution: Don't sweat the details. They're not as important as you think. Let me give you an example. Check out the first few paragraphs of this post. Do you know how long it took me to put those words together? Too long. How long did it take you to read them? Probably thirty seconds. You see, I could have re-written those few sentences for hours, but you still would have taken thirty seconds to read it.

3. Perfectionism Creates a Sad Writer-dom

When we post something that's not perfect (aka almost everything), we can be really hard on ourselves. We seem to forget that we're learning, growing, and becoming better writers. We forget how far we've already come.

Solution: Have grace for where you are today as a writer. Don't dwell on that typo you posted, or the comma splice you missed. It's okay. Allow yourself to make mistakes and get better.

4. Perfectionism Causes Procrastination

I hate procrastination, but when I do it, it's because I'm waiting for something to be perfect. When I procrastinated writing this post, it's because I was waiting for the perfect topic. Ironic, isn't it? We love to wait for the perfect time or idea to cross our minds to start writing.

Solution: This one piece, blog post, chapter, or book is not the end of you. You don't need to wait for the perfect idea or time, because most likely, this will not be your last. I took weeks to decide what to write my first book about, until I realized, “This is not my last book.” Don't wait, because that perfect idea might never come, and if it halfway through does, save it for your next project.

Which perfectionist downfall do you often fall prey to? Let us know in the comments below. 

Be Free from Your Perfectionism

Seriously, if you haven't gotten the point here it is: to be a writer you need to let go of your work being perfect. I'm telling you that it's okay to be imperfect. It's not just me that's telling you it's okay: Ruthanne believes it, Joe agrees, Jeff Goins reminds you, and Forbes calls Perfectionism, “The Enemy of Everything.”

Even Hemingway so eloquently said,

The first draft of anything is shit.

So let go, and try using some of our solutions listed above. You have permission to try, possibly fail, and most definitely learn from your mistakes.

Remember the benefit of your perfectionism, too. Our perfectionism and constant desire to be better and improve our craft is an incredible motivation. We can learn great lessons from our perfectionism without allowing it to control us. 

What do you think of your perfectionism? Curse or secret motivation? Let us know in the comments below. 

PRACTICE

Share with us something you've been working on, something that's unfinished and not perfect. Post it in the comments below.

Leave some writing encouragement for your fellow writers and say goodbye to the downfalls of perfection.

How to Write Like Louise PennyWant to write like Louise Penny? Join our new class and learn how. Learn more and sign up here.

Join Class

Next LIVE lesson is coming up soon!

Kellie McGann is the founder of Write a Better Book. She partners with leaders to help tell their stories in book form.

On the weekends, she writes poetry and prose.

She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.

72 Comments

  1. J Arias

    This is an excrept from my current WIP Calling Crow – the protag, Emma, just tackled a bomber off a bridge to save everyone on it. A girl she’s just met saves her.
    Excerpt:
    I woke in the arms of an angel.
    Ok, not quite, but I was hanging about 200 meters in the air from a girl with wings. Close enough.
    “You’re a mage?” I asked stupidly.
    “No, I’m part bird.” She snapped. “Of course I’m a mage, moron, or did that explosion rattle your brains?”
    I groaned, and glanced down at the bridge far below. “The explosion…didn’t I die?”
    She shook her head. “No. You’re welcome. Be thankful you’re such an idiot.”
    I grinned. “So, I saved people?”
    She hesitated. “Well…” I took another look at the bridge. It was crumbling as we spoke, half decimated already. Horses reared in the wreckage, still tethered to the carriage, and even as I watched, the royal disaster slid further towards the gaping chasm below. Guards were strewn everywhere. “You saved the royal family.” She said firmly, gesturing to a small cluster of people on the far side of the bridge. “Not that it’s something to brag about.”

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      This is great! Super intriguing, and makes me want to read more.
      Great job!

    • J Arias

      Thanks 🙂

    • EndlessExposition

      Even though this is a fairly short section, I still got a really good sense of the world these characters are from, and what their personalities are like from the dialogue. Great piece!

    • J Arias

      Thank you!

    • 709writer

      I enjoyed reading this; I like the snarky sense of humor!

  2. felicia_d

    My perfectionism is definitely a CURSE and #1 – Perfectionism Stops Your From Publishing should be my theme song! I am struggling through it during NaNoWriMo with so much more success than last year. I’ve managed to wrestle my inner editor into submission…for now anyway.

    This is an excerpt from last year’s NaNo-Challenge. I’ll probably tackle it again – after I see this year’s project through (READ: Publish!).

    ***

    Perri could feel the beads of sweat run down her back as she approached the parking
    garage. It had been much easier to make the three block walk when she’d arrived four hours earlier. Now, not only was the sun high in the sky, she was almost certain Los Angeles would record a new high temperature for this mid-August day.

    Giving her car remote a click, Perri opened the rear diver-side door, and was met with
    a blast of heat. The car’s interior was stifling. Another quick click started
    the car, and she was grateful she had remembered to leave the air conditioning
    settings on high. Sitting her bag on the back seat, Perri removed her linen
    blazer, grabbed her cellphone from the pocket and the manila folder from the
    side of her bag, and laid the blazer over the bag. Closing the door to give the
    car time to cool off, she turned and looked out at the Los Angeles skyline. The
    smog was bad. Thick and brown, it hung over the city like a blanket. Perri
    could not wait to get back to the less oppressive environs of Brentwood. She
    loved the atmosphere of the shopping district, but it was humid, smoggy days
    like this that reminded her of why she moved away in the first place.

    Her lips curved into a faint smile as she glanced at the Los Angeles Court House.
    The few hours she had spent there, and the exhausting walk back to her car was
    a small price to pay for what the folder held inside. She opened the car door
    and stuck her head inside. The inside temperature was approaching comfortable,
    so she quickly slid into the driver’s seat and closed the door. A sense of
    euphoria washed over Perri as she stared at the folder. Slowly she opened it
    and read the bold heading,

    “FINAL JUDGEMENT OF DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE”

    It was over. Leaning back against the seat, Perri lightly ran her fingers over the formal document.. No more pretending. No more phony smiles or empty promises. No more sad pitiful looks from family and friends. No more dreaming of the day when her farce of a marriage would end. It was over.

    Perri knew she should feel remorse or regret, but she actually had to stop herself from laughing out loud. She was giddy…happy, and she wanted to celebrate. Sobering suddenly, Perri realized no one knew where she was. It was no secret that she had finally filed for divorce. The week after Marlena’s eighteenth birthday party, Perri hosted small dinner gathering, and made her announcement during the first course. No one was surprised. Most were relieved she was finally going to dump Parker, and her children were ecstatic. However, they all knew Parker well enough to know he would never simply agree to a divorce. And while Perri was ready to walk away, she still had the hope of a reconciliation between Parker and their children. They’d long ago reconciled their feelings for the father who all but ignored them. Had the twins, Daniel and Ethan, had their way, she would have sought a divorce seven years ago. The young men had had the misfortune to witness firsthand their father’s adulterous ways, and wanted their mother as far away from him as possible.

    Having grown up in a household ripped apart by the ugliness of divorce,
    Perri assured her two oldest children that evening she was well aware of their
    father’s after work “activities”, and she could handle it for the time
    being. A few short months away from their twenty-first birthday, and less than a year away from their college graduation, Perri’s boys argued that she should at least start the proceedings and they would return after finishing school to help with their two younger siblings. She remembered the pride she’d felt seeing the seriousness in their
    faces. Perri wasn’t in the habit of explaining herself to anyone, but her children were the life’s blood that kept her going. It had taken most of the evening, but in the end, her boys understood and had promised not to confront their father. Ethan was even
    quite complimentary on her way of thinking, saying he almost felt sorry for anyone who was silly enough to underestimate her.

    Underestimate. That thought immediately bought Margaret Gower Bradford to mind. In her mind, Perri was the cause of all of her own problems. From her straying husband to her chronic health issues. If Perri had done enough, given enough, been enough, none of her problems would exist. Margaret didn’t see them as problems, but more like
    Perri’s issues. She had constantly cautioned Perri to not even consider
    divorce. Marriage was forever in the eyes of God. This sentiment from a woman
    who had been divorced for nearly forty years, refused to remarry, and still
    found a reason to fight with ex-husband anytime they were in the same zip code.
    No, Perri would definitely not be calling her mother anytime soon.

    She thought about her group of BFFs – or the “old broads” as she liked to refer to them. They hated that label. Tory, Sarah, Connie and Valerie
    were usually the cause of Perri’s fits of hysterical laughter. None of the
    women had an OFF button. No subject was sacred and anyone with a pulse was fair
    game for their biting, caustic remarks. She picked up her phone and dialed Tory’s number, but hit End instead of Call. A celebration with the girls would involve a long
    evening with way too much alcohol. Better to save that party for the weekend.
    She’d call them all later and set it up.

    Glancing down at the court documents again, Perri knew there was only one person she wanted to call. The only person who knew all she had gone through and understood. The only person who was always there giving her emotional support.
    Her fingers hovered over his name on her contact list. She hadn’t told him about this morning’s court date. He would be upset. He would have offered to go with her.

    Perri dropped the phone onto the seat and slipped the key into the ignition. She would not tell him over the phone, but he would be the first one she told. After all the years he had held her together when she thought she was at the end of her rope, she owed Grayson Blackthorn that much.

    Easing the car into the flow of mid-day L.A. Traffic, she focused on the task at hand…surviving the drive home. No one could maneuver the crush of
    downtown traffic or it’s many surrounding freeways unless they were a
    bit unbalanced, and she fit right in for sure today. Perri still couldn’t name
    the light, bouncy, but apprehensive feelings that buzzed just under her skin.
    It didn’t matter. She liked it. She liked it a lot.

    She felt free.

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Yay for publishing! Great job!
      This piece is really descriptive! I don’t know why you’re so afraid to publish, this is great!

    • felicia_d

      “Wordy” writer here, Kellie! I can make shortcuts and streamline in every area of my life…except my writing. I always feel as though I’ve overdone it, and then I edit and get really depressed! LOL! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Gretchen Meyer

      PLEASE read Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life. In it he says, “Here is all I ask of a book–give me everything. Everything, and don’t leave out a single word.”
      There are many editors (and perhaps readers) who will disagree with him, but it’s not their story you’re writing. His paragraph analyzing Leo Tolstoy’s writing is, by itself, a thesis on this very thing.

    • J Arias

      I really like this! I feel like I’m actually there, feeling sweat trickle down my back and traffic buzzing around me. Don’t be afraid to publish, because then the world will never see it, which would be a definite loss. 🙂

    • felicia_d

      Thanks for the kind words, J Arias! Finishing this will be my next project after completing this year’s challenge.

    • concordriverlady

      Wow! If this is not your best than I should bail now. Are you looking for compliments? I do know that perfectionists love them as much as we abhor critiques. Cheers.

    • felicia_d

      Hello concordriverlady!

      You would not believe how long it took to write this short passage. As a pantser, I was TOTALLY unprepared for NaNo last year. I had a written list of characters…and a story in my head. Not a good combination in my case. I’ve since learned that even pantsers need to work through the process. (NO one told me!) Using what I’ve learned from Becoming Writer, I’m in a much better place and when I finish this year’s challenge, I do intend to tackle this one…using the process. Many thanks for your feedback.

    • Beth Schmelzer

      This piece stands alone as it is wonderfully written. You should submit it to a story contest.
      I suggest that since you pulled it out from last year, you want to publish it. Re -read it out loud to yourself for a few changes and then send it out!

    • felicia_d

      Hi Beth!

      I’ve never even thought about story contests, or reading anything I’ve written out loud. Thank you! If you know of ongoing writing contests, please let me know. Thanks for responding!

    • EndlessExposition

      Excellent characterization! Perri is definitely a character the reader can get behind. It will need editing – as everything does – but overall, good work!

    • steph1025

      I know this is a year old and I’m actually very sorry I hadn’t read this sooner. I don’t know if you ever finished or if you’re still working on this material, but I just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed reading this little excerpt. I related to everything Perri was feeling. I became the woman in the cooling car, running her fingers over the words “FINAL JUDGMENT OF DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.” If you have finished or if you have more you could or would want to share, I would love to continue reading.

    • felicia_d

      Thank you, Steph! Actually, I stalled on this at 38K and went on to complete and publish another book. But Perri never stopped talking. LOL! So I’ve created a new outline (picking up where I left off) and added this to my 2017 WIPs – it will be completed! Follow my author’s blog at feliciadenise.com for updates. Thanks again for the response – it’s an awesome motivator!

  3. Jim Finley

    I’m a lifelong perfectionist, and it’s a curse in the beginning stages of any project and a blessing later on. I have to get enough done – whether I’m writing a story or a memo for work, fixing a faucet, making visual art, or anything else – to have something to pick at. At that stage the perfectionism can stall me or keep me from starting at all.

    But once I’ve gotten a draft written, the pieces laid out and at least partially assembled, or the image roughed in, that perfectionism keeps me tweaking it past the point of it being just good enough to make it something I feel good about when I look at it years later.

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Jim, I relate to this for sure. It’s a blessing and a curse. I love both sides of your perfectionism. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jim Finley

      Yeah – my editor likes my work, because it’s essentially pre-edited and I never miss a deadline. But I’ve caught myself spending an hour making sure every sentence has one space, not two, after the period. Is that beyond perfectionism into OCD?

    • Kellie McGann

      haha Jim, I think you need to use the “Find and Replace” tool. It’s magic. You can search for all the periods that have two spaces and have it replaced with one. Only takes a minute!

  4. dgk

    This was a great article and I believe that it was written just for me. My procrastination has gotten out of control. I’ve been procrastinating so much in the last few months that I have barely written a word. My procrastination has made me feel emotionally and physically ill. I have such a big hole in my brain, my psyche, my soul, from not emptying out the thoughts that are overflowing because I tell myself that I’ll write something, anything, later. That “later” never comes and I’ll look back on the hours that were wasted on mundane busyness with nothing to show for it. I’m going to pull out one of my journals, grab a pen, and lighten my tank of words, thoughts, ideas, minutia. I’m going to write. Now. Today. And start anew with this post.

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      I’m so glad you liked the article!
      Sounds like you have a lot of writing to catch up on. I’m glad you were encouraged, and hope you let us know how picking up that pen again was.
      Best of luck!

  5. allyn211

    MY perfectionism is in my research . . .suppose I get a detail wrong about police investigation, or the landscape of the setting?

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      I do believe research can be important. Sometimes people don’t notice the details as much as we do, but I understand wanting to get all those facts right.
      It sounds like your perfectionism really makes your writing authentic and realistic. Love it!

    • allyn211

      This summer I took a trip out West to help research the setting of a novel series. As a result, I ended up changing the setting of one scene from a national park to a national recreation area. The national park I wanted to use wasn’t suited for the scene I was trying to write (I was going to have bad guys escape and realized there was no way the baddies could get out of the place I originally wanted to set the scene without attracting attention.)

      I’m also a freelance proofreader of court transcripts, and I worry that one misplaced comma could change the entire meaning of a sentence. 🙂

    • Kellie McGann

      That’s really cool that you got to go to your setting!
      Also, yeah that court transcript thing is legit, you could really change some things with missing commas. Super funny!

  6. Michelle Cook

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been wrestling with my flash fiction for weeks now, thanks to my perfectionism. My inner-editor can be useful, but sometimes, she just needs to be quiet. If I feed her too much, she turns into a dragon that eats all the other muses. Terribly inconvenient. Thanks again for your encouragement. 😀

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Flash fiction, that sounds fun! The dragon does sound terribly inconvenient.
      Glad you found the the article helpful!

  7. David

    i think i may , i think i might, write something perfect tonight … wait …
    i think i may, i think i might, perfectly write something tonight … no, hold on a sec …
    i think i may, i think i might, write perfectly tonight … no, no, i can get this …
    i think i may, i think i might, perfectly write something perfect tonight … crap, still wrong …
    i think i may, i think i might, be perfectly content with what i write tonight

    … and that’s alright ….

    … … wait, i better double check again and make sure i wrote what i was trying to say … …

    … … … ahhhh, forget it! … … …

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      haha these are basically my thoughts every time I open my laptop…
      Thanks David!

    • Alison Guedes altmayer

      Great! It sounded like e.e.cummings 🙂 – please, take it as a compliment.

    • Christina Barnes

      I LOVE THIS!

    • ANNIE EVE

      Hi hi hi makes me laugh 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  8. Kellie McGann

    LaCresha, I’m glad you don’t suffer from perfectionism. Or are we in denial? 😉

    Reply
  9. concordriverlady

    I rewritten this chapter six times. I can’t get past it and move forward. I’m at the point of bailing. Sigh.

    Another
    yawn, which this time included a long stretch, triggered a whine from Lexy.
    “Fine, fine,” Annah answered, planting a kiss on the top of the warm
    muzzle. “Time to face the day. Let’s
    go.” Slipping into a white terry robe, bare feet carried Annah out of the room
    with Lexy in the lead.

    When
    describing her home, Annah liked to kid that the bedroom occupied the west wing.
    In truth, with just under eight hundred square feet of living space, the only
    wings involved were on the birds at the outside feeders. The small size of the
    house mattered little to Annah. A lot less grand than Barney’s forty-eight hundred
    square foot monster, it became a safe haven for her and Sam after the divorce. A
    safe haven paid for in legal blood.

    ‘All
    you have to do is not ask for a dime and the house will be yours, Annah-Belle,’
    Michael had said. Turn around and walk. Raise Sam on her own and Michael’s rundown
    family cottage, and the two acres it sat on, would be hers. Negotiations strained
    and almost fell apart when she demanded the house be brought up to code. ‘New wiring,
    plumbing, and heating, plus a new roof. No updates, no deal,’ formed her
    demands. Calling her bluff, Michael pulled the offer. ‘Fine,’ she’d countered,
    ‘Go fuck yourself.’ In the end, Michael caved and she got the cottage and the
    updates.

    Over
    the years she took classes, read, asked, and assembled an admirable collection
    of tools, including saws and drills. Using her newly acquired knowledge,
    determination, sweat, local handymen, and a home equity loan, the little
    cottage blossomed into paradise, the name she and Sam christened the house back
    when he turned ten. Paradise. The front door displayed the word in hunter green
    paint. ‘My paradise,’ she sang, ambling into the kitchen from the short hallway.

    Of
    all the rooms, the kitchen took the most effort. To curb costs, Annah and a
    local contractor worked side-by-side, transforming a dated room with all the
    charm of a cave into the bright room she now entered, complete with a built-in
    breakfast nook. The honey toned oak table top had taken a beating over the
    years, showing scars of the hundreds of meals she and Sam shared, and stains
    from tons of homework art projects. Without her knowledge, Sam even added his
    initials to the outside corner of the table, marking that area as his spot. Barney
    kept trying to convince her that resurfacing the table would make the kitchen
    look better. She wouldn’t even think of refinishing the wood. Removing the
    marks would be like obliterating her and Sam’s past. Pressing her fingers into
    the gouge he intended to be an S, a familiar wrenching twisted her heart. “Mum
    misses you honey. Come home soon.”

    Returning her focus to Lexy, Annah released
    her into the yard before turning her attention to the next important tasks,
    coffee and Thor. “Good morning Thor.” Cold water from the kitchen tap filled
    the coffee pot while a four inch toy on the window sill received Annah’s
    greeting. Lending the figurine her voice, today Thor took on a Texan accent. ‘Good
    morning little lady, and how are you this fine first day of summer?’ “Why, I’m
    well today, Thor. Thank you for asking.” Sam had been ten when he’d given Annah
    the toy for her birthday. Many battles ensued between Thor and whatever villain
    Sam would invent. If Magneto wasn’t available, or the Titans were missing, poor
    Thor would have to fight cucumbers or sticks. He was always victorious though,
    much to Sam’s frustration. ‘How come Thor always wins mum?’ Covering her son
    with joyous kisses, Annah would respond, ‘Because he’s the mighty Thor silly.’

    Enclosing the figurine in her hand, she
    removed him from the sill. The right arm dangled by a rubber band and his
    thunder hammer had long ago disappeared. In its place, Sam had inserted his
    version of a hammer, fashioned out of Play Dough. “You don’t look so mighty
    now, do you Thor?” Gently standing him back on the ledge, she smiled, “You’ll
    always be my hero though. Now excuse me while I make some coffee.”

    ‘No
    doubt about it, a person needs a cup of good coffee at the beginning of each
    day. Not watered down stuff but a hearty brew made with freshly ground beans,
    cold water, and brewed until black as coal.’ The memory of her father’s voice accompanied
    her as she went about preparing the coffee. “Hi dad. I hope you and mom are
    dancing among the stars,” she said, the tug on her heart kicking in the
    familiar ache. Grateful for the pungent aroma released by the grinding of the
    dark roasted beans, she mentally waved goodbye to her parents and allowed her
    mind to enter a different place, one more peaceful, without pain.

    Mastering
    the art of visualization had become a goal for her when she chose to follow the
    old ways. At first she failed miserably, only able to see what her mind wanted
    to show. With training and adding sensory enhancements, like smells or tastes,
    she now could see what she wanted her mind to display. Still not a success, the
    pictures were usually fuzzy, like out of focus photographs. This morning, a murky
    hillside lined with either coffee plants or green people, she wasn’t sure.
    Measuring out the cracked, chestnut grains, she inhaled a strong whiff. Closing
    her eyelids, she tried to crystalize the image. She almost had it as one tree
    started to sharpen before blurring back into a smudged blob. “Okay, no biggie,”
    she said, measuring the cracked grains into the percolator.

    The
    bubbling coffeepot provided a background soundtrack to Annah’s morning routine.
    If the weather allowed, Annah sat at the patio table with her coffee, journal,
    and laptop, while Lexy chased squirrels. The birds tended to ignore the
    barking, flying among the feeders, twittering over Lexy’s head. This morning,
    since the sun was still waking up, Annah sat at the breakfast nook with her pen
    in hand.

    June
    21

    First
    day of summer. A season of blossoms, warmth and possibilities. I cast a circle
    last night, asking the Universe for love. I have love with Sam, love with
    Barney and Pam, but I want true love. Is that even possible? Yes, I know it is.
    The French call it l’amour vrai. Barney and Pam tell me my head is too wrapped-up
    in fairy tales. No prince is coming to rescue me. What I can’t get them to
    understand is that I don’t want to be rescued, nor do I need to be. I want a
    man who shares my values to share my journey. If need be, I’ll rescue him. I
    know he’ll be here soon because I’m finally ready to let him in. After Michael
    and Brian the gates to my heart were locked. What a cliché. Too bad. If it’s
    cliché to want to find love then so be it. I know he’s close. I can feel him.
    But, will I recognize him? Hopefully, if I don’t, he’ll recognize me. Here’s to
    a new summer, when all things are possible. Blessed be.

    Oh
    yes, how could I forget my dream? Sexy, steamy, and, wow! a man finally made
    love to me. Not the wham bam stuff but I could feel his pleasure in my body and
    in being with me, Annah-Belle. It was so wonderful. Too bad Barney’s call nixed
    the ending. Maybe tonight? Blessed be.

    “Time
    to face reality.” Closing the journal, the laptop received Annah’s focus. Watching
    the it boot-up, a love spell came to Annah’s mind. “Kiss me when we meet, kiss
    me when we greet. Kiss me with your lips and say you missed me, but most of all,
    kiss me. Hmm, I don’t remember learning that spell but obviously I did at some point.”
    She repeated the spell again. “It’s sweet,” she said, getting up to pour a mug
    of coffee. Her ankles felt a chill as a draft swirled around them. “Damn, for
    the first day of summer, it’s still chilly outside.” Before closing the inside
    door she watched Lexy and listened to the wind chimes calling across the yard. The
    sun’s rays infiltrated the leaves of the massive oak in the center of the yard,
    leaving patches of yellow on the grass and walkways. The spell returned. “Kiss
    me when we meet, kiss me when we greet. Kiss me with your lips and say you
    missed me, but most of all, kiss me,” she repeated a third time, her voice
    barely a whisper, before closing the door.

    A
    new message from Sam, marked urgent, flashed a smiley emoticon from her e-mail inbox.
    Born to the generation where communication involved electronics, the
    twenty-year old rejected real talking unless absolutely necessary. Even an
    e-mail was rare, since it involved typing. Typically he would send a few
    abbreviated phrases like, Hi
    mum am fine how r u miss u J Sam was also from
    the generation where punctuation didn’t exist.

    “When
    was the last time we actually talked?” Annah mused. The smiley face started to
    take on a smirking expression. “June first. He called to make sure I got the
    e-mail listing the things he wanted shipped.” The message remained un-opened
    for another minute. She sipped her coffee, trying to shake the feeling for
    foreboding that crept over her. “I’m being silly. He probably wants more stuff
    shipped.” No such luck.

    Hi
    mum I’m having a ball w dad did you know the u of Melbourne has an engineering
    program I am going to stay here and go there dad said it was ok so I won’t be
    coming home will send you info about shipping my stuff happy first day of
    summer luv you

    Scalding coffee spilled
    across the table. “WAIT ONE FUCKING MINUTE!” she bellowed, trying to reread the
    message while balancing the laptop and wiping the spill. “HE’S NOT COMING HOME!
    AT ALL? He’s staying in FUCKING AUSTRALIA!!!”

    “No, no, no, no!
    No fucking way is this going to happen!” For such a small house, it felt like
    it took forever for her to storm back into her bedroom for her cell phone.
    “WHERE THE FUCK IS IT?” she whirled around, finally locating it under the
    comforter. With an amazing amount of will power she managed to regain control as
    she placed the call. ‘Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the
    number and dial again. Message 2G3568.’ “WHAT THE FUCK!” Pressing Sam’s name
    again, this time she heard, ‘We’re sorry. All circuits are busy now. Please try
    your call again later.’ “FUCK!!!”

    By now she had
    reclaimed her seat at the table. “STUPID CELL PHONES. STUPID EX-HUSBANDS.
    FUCK!”

    Gathering the
    scattered pieces of her sanity, Annah poured the remnants of her coffee down
    the drain and prepared a fresh mug. “Okay, relax, relax. Deep breaths
    Annah-Belle. Take it outside.” Slipping into her gardening jacket and a knit
    hat, she settled at the patio table with her coffee cell phone, and a stack of
    napkins. “Third times the charm,” she inhaled, pressing Sam’s speed dial name
    again.

    The call went
    through like a charm and she heard with startling clarity Sam’s drunken voice. “Hi
    mm ju gt mzge?”

    “Sam, have you been drinking?” The control she
    worked to contain imploded. A quick calculation revealed the time in Melbourne
    was ten-thirty at night. Michael was a heavy drinker but, to her knowledge, Sam
    never touched alcohol. “Samuel, I asked you, have you been drinking?” The words
    came out a little too angry, to which Sam reacted instantly.

    “Waz
    the prob. Jz a ltl. Gt ovr zit mum. Jeez.”

    “What do you mean a little? You’re drunk young man! I
    don’t like that you’re drinking Sam. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    Silence.
    She could have heard a pin drop in Melbourne if, in fact, one fell.

    Okay, calmly this time Annah-Bell. The mother in her railed while the adult took over. “Please
    listen to me. Call me tonight my time so we can to talk about your e-mail. Okay
    honey?”

    “No mm. Am styng.”
    Incoherent, but the point got across. “Zu cnt shop me.”

    “Sam, call me
    tonight.” Anger filtered into what she had hoped would be a commanding tone.
    “Around nine. That will be …”

    Strike two.
    ‘Call Ended’ flashed in her face.

    “I will remain
    calm, I will remain calm, I will remain calm,” she reiterated, breathing with
    each repetition. “Fuck it.” The coffee mug and its contents sailed onto the
    grass.

    “Now
    what?” she stewed. Calling Michael would be about as fun as trying to shove a
    wet noodle up a tiger’s butt and she would have more luck with the tiger. “Fuck,
    why does that man still retain so much power over me? It’s been sixteen fucking
    years!” I keep asking the same dumb
    question and I get the same fucking answer. He has power over me because I allow it. Bristling at her own
    thoughts, she shouted, “Thank you so very fucking much for the information. Tell
    me something I don’t know.” Her temper was something she needed to control,
    particularly if losing it would accomplish nothing. But the betrayal by him,
    removing Sam from her life, threatened to refuel her anger. Pushing it down,
    way down, she grabbed her mug.

    Michael
    had always been skilled at emotional manipulation. She knew that. Reaching for
    the phone, she exhaled and pressed his number. The call went straight to voice
    mail. ‘G’day mate! You’ve reached
    Mickey. Leave a message, eh.’ Annah decided a short, curt message would be
    best. “Michael, Call me immediately please. There are a few things I would like
    to talk about. Thank you.”

    Proud
    of herself for one, not swearing; two, speaking like an adult; and three, not
    making lame threats, Annah moved into the kitchen to clean the percolator where
    she freely acted like a child by calling him every obscene name she could think
    of.

    Reply
    • Vanessa

      Don’t BAIL! I just wanted to tell you I enjoyed reading this. I hope you just step back and give this chapter some space and keep going forward. Sometimes we are too close. I have had the same thing where something just bugged me. I walked away and then re read it later and loved it! I hope this happens to you. Also just wondering if this line is meant to read ” once more peaceful” – mind to enter a different place, one more peaceful, without pain.”

    • concordriverlady

      Hi, thank you for such a kind response. I won’t bail but, darn, I am tired of the fear that I’m not good enough to get published. My sister tells me to write for myself. In the webinar Joe said to have fun. I’ve lost sight of my goal, which was to tell my main character, Annah’s, story. Again, thank you for your kindness. Cheers,

  10. concordriverlady

    Great article by the way. It’s printed out and in my binder. Thank you

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Concorddriverlady, Thanks so much for loving the article! Glad you printed it out! 🙂

  11. Terence Verma

    There needs to be balance in life, and so the right perspectives are important.

    Reply
  12. Louise Rita

    Here is my first draft of an outline for my nonfiction book. I’m sure it’s not perfect…

    OUTLINE

    1. Early Childhood (ages 0-5.5)

    2. Change (age 5.5)
    a. Background events
    b. THE event
    c. My response and Dad’s

    3. Ages 6-9

    4. Dad remarries
    a. Aunt’s promise
    b. The incident in the kitchen
    c. The years that follow (ages 9.5–13)

    5. The High School years
    a. The first 2 years
    b. My junior year
    c. Summer 1966
    d. My senior year

    6. A college Freshman at the wrong school

    7. Sophomore year – time to choose a major, but I quit

    8. Back home

    9. No return
    a. Night of judgement
    b. Everything has changed
    c. The first year

    10. The next fourteen years

    11. Finally ‘out’

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Louise,
      Is this a memoir? The subjects look intriguing! Looking forward to seeing more.

  13. Edenavari

    Perfectionnism is most likely the biggest reason I’m not writing. I hate it. Here’s something I was gonna post on my blog, then deleted out of fear that, you guessed it, it wasn’t good enough (it’s more of a reflexion than actual writing):

    I don’t know what people look at when they look at people. I don’t know what it is that they see that I don’t, I don’t know why I see something else and I don’t know what that something is. I just know that I recognize people when I look at them, not from a memory but by a feeling, and I forget others because they just never meant anything to me, good or bad. I know that I’m not easily forgettable, and I can’t tell whether that’s a good thing or not.
    I don’t recognize the person I look at in the mirror every damn day. I don’t see anything about her that makes her a person, unless I look really hard, and even then, it’s fleeting. I don’t recognize my expressions, my manners, the way I walk and talk and move, the twitch of tiny muscles in my face, the hidden things behind my eyes. And I realize, I don’t look at a person in the mirror. And seeing myself in pictures and videos, well, it makes me see someone.
    I wish I knew that person. I wonder if people look at people the way they look in a mirror. I wonder how many people realize that we are more than reflections.

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Edenavari,
      This is really powerful. I love your observations, they make your reader think more than a superficial passing thought. It’s great.
      Thanks for sharing, seriously. (You should actually post this on your blog now too.)

  14. Jorygail De Ocampo

    This has been my struggle on my current story and nothing explains it better like this article. Thanks for this well of wisdom!!!
    I’ll try my best to get over my ‘perfectionism ways’…lol

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Jorygail,
      The struggle is real. Glad we’re not alone! 🙂
      Let us know how it goes.

  15. Constance Cummings

    When I was in fifth grade a teacher told me ‘Virgil sent 20 years writing the Aeneid” and implied that anything worth reading was labored over long and hard. Now I think poor Virgil was probably paralyzed by perfectionism. And I see how it has held me back in many facets of life

    Reply
  16. Vanessa

    Hi everyone 🙂 A blog post that may be re worked and inserted into a current “Project”

    “Poste restante (French: post remaining) or general delivery is a service where the post
    office holds mail until the recipient calls for it. It is a common destination for mail for people who are visiting a particular location and have no need, or no way, of having mail
    delivered directly to their place of residence at that time.”

    The traveler’s road can be a lonely one at times, yet one of the most romantic and nostalgic memories I have about staying connected is “poste restante.”

    Before the age of Internet and the technological birth of cyber cafes that can be found in the most obscure places on the planet, letters fluttered their way around the world. I love finding old journals with pages I wrote to my parents, filled with drawings and chicken
    scratches and stains from coffee shops or sand from attempting to write from a
    wind blown beach. Pressed flowers, and worn folds speaking of another untold
    tale.

    In so many countries I have wandered to the nearest post office to collect a handful of gifts in those small packets of tattered pages. Love and stories sent from family and friends that were written and mailed all over the world.

    My most profound poste restante memory was from the isolated islands of “Les îles
    Marquises” in the South Pacific. I had embarked on yet another random
    journey, this one with a charismatic one armed captain, sailing from San Diego
    to French Polynesia. We had been at sea for twenty-four days, following the
    trade winds on one of the most classic crossings of the greatest seafarers in
    the world.

    After weeks of living by the rhythms of the ocean, I remember beginning to see an increase of birds. Not just long distance flying Albatross but Great Frigate birds and Blue-Footed Boobies. When along the wind came the smell of soil, rich and pungent, salt and pepper smells of the tropics.

    There is nothing quite comparable to the excitement of a sailor that has been to sea for weeks on end, quivering with the anticipation of setting eyes and feet on a new land.

    Dark blue depths gave way to turquoise shoals, as the island of Fatu Hiva rose out of the horizon like the back of a giant sea turtle. Binoculars were pulled out, charts consulted and anticipation grew as we passed by Tahuata, to enter the main anchorage of Hiva Oa.

    With a surreal feeling enveloping our minds and giant grins upon our faces we pulled into a new port that harbored a rag tag congregation of seafarers. We maneuvered through the bay to eventually drop anchor with greetings and waves from other nut brown and wind blown souls.

    From shore paddled smiling islanders with boats filled with exotic fruit, vying for a new sale, or the potential to trade goods with the newly arrived.

    Our crew cleaned ourselves up, smiling with the novelty of putting on actual cloths and shoes; wobbly legs staggering upon the shore. After restocking our supplies, refueling, and filling our water tank, we searched for parts to complete repairs needed after a long crossing. Finally after the endless chores of boat life, we made the walk into the heart of town and to the coveted post office.

    A small building of brick was nestled in the perfectly manicured grass, white and green with simple windows and beautifully carved wooden door. Inside at each booth were bundles of the most fragrant and tropical cluster I have ever smelled. To my surprise they were a regular hair dressing of local Marquesian woman. A core of a pineapple rolled in sandalwood, speared with small thin sticks were exotic local flowers of Tiare and Frangipani entwined with pods of vanilla.

    In a daze I walked up to the smiling woman behind the counter, giving my name and requesting in rusty French for any letters addressed to me. To my utter amazement I was passed 3 worn packets. Two were from Canada and one from Australia. It blew my mind that these small pieces of paper had made their way so far, to such a remote spot for me to collect. With tears in my eyes I clung to the gift of communication from loved ones so far away.

    When I think today of email, cell phones, and internet cafes, I am conflicted with feelings. A loss of the romantic age of communication. The simplistic joy of a handwritten note, and the opposite sense of instant connection and ease of staying in touch. It inspires
    me to sit down and write a few letters to friends of old, scattered around the
    far reaches of the globe.

    Reply
  17. Debra johnson

    Perfectionism and I are like this * crosses fingers to indicate best buds* Where ever I go there it is , looking at me and what I have done as it rubs chin inquistitively. no wait inquisatively.. no better go with questioningly. There close enough. Nothing I ever do is as perfect as I see it in my head. seems its a never ending battle.

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Debra,
      I know what you mean. It’s hard to get rid of perfectionism. I think the first step is letting go of that image in your head. You never know, what you create could be better than what you imagine, but because it isn’t what you imagined, it seems not good enough.

    • Elizabeth

      I completely understand what you mean! I can picture in my mind exactly the image I want to convey but the words to do it correctly elude me. I have spent days on a single sentence to the point where the words are no longer words with meaning. They are just black lines touching each other in small curious groups. That’s when I know I need to step away from the computer and wait for my skewed reality to quietly slither back under the crazy writer’s rock it crawled out from. Usually a walk helps. The change of scenery and fresh air clears my head.

  18. Reagan Colbert

    Wow, do you have a hidden camera at my house? 🙂 This entire article is me, every last bit. Thanks for the encouragement! (yikes, I just almost posted a typo 😉

    Reply
    • Kellie McGann

      Reagan, that’s so funny! It’s the perfectionist in all of us. Glad you were encouraged!

  19. EndlessExposition

    I’ve gotten to be less and less of a perfectionist as I get older, something I’m very grateful for. It’s a lot easier for me to do my work without it.

    Here’s the beginning of a new screenplay of mine. As always, reviews are much appreciated!

    REVENANT

    The story is set in an unnamed town in the south of England in 1933.

    EXT. – SPEEDWELL PARK

    Speedwell Park is a large Gothic manor, dark and somber but well-maintained, sitting on
    top of a large, neat lawn, at the top of the village. Behind the Park, the spacious back lawn stretches away into the woods.

    INT. – SPEEDWELL PARK, PARLOR

    Inside the parlor – decorated in an equally Victorian manner – SARAH HARTLEY is shaking hands with MR. BLESSED. Sarah is a woman in her mid-twenties, dressed
    smartly in a man’s tweed suit. Mr. Blessed, an estate agent, is stooped with age, his dusty, out-of-fashion Victorian era suit hanging off his bony frame. He carries a briefcase. Behind them, in a row, stand Sarah’s servants – MRS. COOPER (Sarah’s secretary), BOSWORTH (the butler), ALICE and FLORA (the maids), and MRS. DOUGHTY (the cook).

    SARAH: Can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, Mr. Blessed. The Park is just smashing.

    MR. BLESSED: A pleasure, Lady Hartley. Enjoy your new home (muttering to himself) while it lasts.

    He hobbles to the front door, and Bosworth hurries ahead to let him out. Sarah watches him go with an expression of puzzlement, but as Bosworth returns, she turns back to her servants and offers a smile.

    SARAH: Right. Mrs. Doughty, can we expect dinner at nine?

    MRS. DOUGHTY: Yes, my Lady.

    SARAH: Excellent. Mrs. Cooper, would you be so good as to accompany me to my study? I should like you to scribe a letter.

    INT. – STUDY

    A massive carved desk sits proudly in the center of the room on a lush carpet. The walls are ringed with bookshelves, mostly filled with volumes and other items. An empty trunk sits by the door. Mrs. Cooper sits at the desk, scribbling on a stenographer’s pad. Sarah is placing the last of the books on a shelf.

    SARAH: – once again, my congratulations on your union, and sincerest regrets that I am unable to attend. Sincerely, Lady Sarah Hartley.

    MRS. COOPER: I’ll get this typed up right away, my Lady.

    SARAH: (straightening a bust on the shelf) Good, thank you, Mrs. Cooper.

    MRS. COOPER: (getting up from the desk) If I may say so, my Lady, it’s a shame you can’t attend. The wedding of the Duke of Autebury to Lady Celia Monmouth is most likely going to be the social event of the year.

    SARAH: Yes, well. Needs must.

    MRS. COOPER: I can’t imagine what plans could keep you away.

    SARAH: (curtly) Exciting ones.

    MRS. COOPER: Ah. I’ll go type this for you.

    SARAH: I’d appreciate that.

    Mrs. Cooper leaves. Sarah crosses to the open trunk and takes the last item out: a
    framed photograph of a beautiful, well-dressed woman. In the corner of the photo is scribbled, “Sarah, all my love, Celia”. Sarah stares at it longingly for a moment, and then she sets it on the desk.

    INT. – DINING ROOM

    The dining room is cavernous, taken up mostly by a long, oak table. Sarah eats alone at the end of it. With a sigh, she looks up. The empty chair at the other end sits there mockingly.

    FADE OUT

    FADE IN

    NEXT DAY, EXT. – SPEEDWELL PARK

    Sarah comes out of the house. It’s a gloomy, overcast day. Still, Sarah cheerfully claps a hat on her head and sets off towards the village.

    EXT. – VILLAGE

    The village is a typical, English small town. Little shops and cottages line the main street. Sarah strolls along. An OLD WOMAN approaches.

    SARAH: Hello!

    The Old Woman puts her head down and hurries by without responding. Next a FARMER walks up.

    SARAH: Good morning!

    The Farmer also walks away without a word. Sarah furrows her brow, puzzled. She
    keeps walking. Sitting on the curb is a large Collie dog, panting happily. With a smile, Sarah crouches down to pat his head.

    SARAH: You’re a handsome boy, aren’t you?

    A LITTLE BOY comes out of the apothecary behind her, clutching a paper bag.

    LITTLE BOY: What are you doing?

    SARAH: Is this your dog? He’s a good looking little chap. What’s his name?

    LITTLE BOY: Nothing.

    He hurries away and the dog follows him. Sarah stands up, looking hurt. She goes into the apothecary.

    INT. – APOTHECARY

    The apothecary is small, but what it lacks in size is made up for in storage space. Every shelf groans under the weight of little bottles and boxes. Behind the counter, the SHOPKEEPER is busy restocking, his back to Sarah. She peruses the items on the nearest shelf.

    SARAH: You have an excellent establishment here, Sir.

    SHOPKEEPER: Thank you.

    SARAH: I say, people in this town are dashed reserved, aren’t they?

    SHOPKEEPER: Not from around here?

    SARAH: I’ve just taken Speedwell Park.

    The Shopkeeper finally turns around. His expression turns to one of distaste as he takes Sarah in – a woman in an expensive men’s suit.

    SHOPKEEPER: No. You’re not from around here.

    He disappears into the back room and closes the door. Sarah is left standing in the store, dejected.

    FADE OUT

    FADE IN

    INT. – BILLIARD ROOM

    Sarah is playing billiards by herself. She shoots the last ball into a corner pocket. She sets down the cue, puts the triangle on the table, fishes some balls out of a pocket, and starts arranging them in the triangle for a new game.

    INT. – LIBRARY

    The library is an enormous room filled to the rafters with books. Sarah closes a book and puts it on top of a stack of others. She looks at the globe on the table beside her, and starts twirling it with one finger.

    INT. – ENTRANCE HALL

    Sarah and Mrs. Cooper pass each other in the hall.

    SARAH: Ah, Mrs. Cooper! Any mail from London?

    MRS. COOPER: No, my Lady.

    SARAH: I see. Thank you, Mrs. Cooper.

    MRS. COOPER: My Lady.

    She walks away.

    INT. – SARAH’S ROOM

    Sarah stands behind the closed French doors that lead out onto a small balcony. She’s
    wearing her nightclothes and it’s pouring rain outside. She watches the storm, alone and in silence, as the shadows of the rain on the glass cast patterns on her face.

    FADE OUT

    FADE IN

    INT. – ENTRANCE HALL

    Sarah walks down the main staircase into the entrance hall, dressed to go out. Bosworth is passing by.

    SARAH: Bosworth! I’m going out for a walk on the grounds, tell Mrs. Doughty I’ll be back for luncheon, would you?

    BOSWORTH: Certainly, my Lady.

    SARAH: Good man!

    She opens the door and strides outside.

    EXT. – SPEEDWELL PARK

    Sarah strolls across the back lawn towards the woods.

    EXT. – WOODS

    It is shadowy in the woods, sunlight filtering through the thick cover of leaves overhead,
    and silent save for the lonely call of a lone crow. Sarah ambles along an overgrown path, picking her way around brambles and ducking under low hanging branches. Having stood up after walking under one such branch, she glances casually to her left, then does a double take. A little ways off, something white glints between the trees. Sarah sets off in that direction.

    EXT. – CLEARING

    Sarah emerges into a small clearing in the trees. In the center of the glen is a white marble crypt. Sarah approaches it. The door is held with a rusted metal padlock. Sarah tugs at it, but it doesn’t open. Sarah glances around, chewing her lip. She spots a large branch lying in the trees. She retrieves it and brings it back to the crypt. With three solid blows, she knocks off the padlock. The door swings open. Sarah drops the branch and steps inside.

    INT. – CRYPT

    The crypt is shadowy, and contains only a marble sarcophagus. Sarah bends over the
    sarcophagus. There’s an inscription thickly coated by dust. Sarah wipes the dust away and the inscription becomes legible – “Johanna Kronenbourg November 3 1867- January 1 1887 This parting must be endured. I go unwillingly”.

    SARAH: Johanna Kronenbourg. Who the devil are you?

    Reply
  20. R. Alirhayim

    I’ve had this piece in my drafts on medium … never took it to myself to finish it because I thought it wasn’t “perfect” or good enough.

    We hadn’t talked for two weeks now. I didn’t think it would last that long. But it did. Faith had me question his intentions. As I heard some of my co-workers talk of his history before I joined the firm. “Hanna was always coming up with reasons to go to his office. She was here before you, I’m glad you didn’t have to see her. She was unbearable” said Merriam. Merriam was my office buddy. She and I sat across each other at work where we had our occasional conversations. She was married before, and then divorced. It didn’t help here with trusting people again. She made acquaintances, not friends.

    I was sad. And I didn’t think I could take it anymore. Waking up on weekdays were the best. Because I could see him during the day. That made it easier. On weekends it was hard, because I knew we weren’t friends anymore. But I was proud. I didn’t like that I was just another distraction. Perhaps that is what bothered me most. He’s bored, feels a void and found the perfect distraction. If that was what it was, I wasn’t going to relinquish. We had a meeting this morning. I was planning on ignoring his existence. “Two people can play in this game” I thought to myself. I woke up early that day. Pumped up for my first meeting with a client. As I got dressed I looked back at myself across the mirror.

    Remembering his words that day. “You’re only coming because you speak French you know. The client is French.” I was frustrated. I wanted to tell him to look for a translator to accompany him; but I wanted to go. I pictured my next stage in my career. This was going to be a good opportunity.
    I thought to myself “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself”. I don’t always follow my intuition, but I wish I had told him I wasn’t a translator. Sometimes things left unsaid are hard to digest.

    I reached early. As I was waiting in my car I looked through the project brief quickly. When it was 9’0clock I got out my car and headed towards the showroom. Being a relatively small place, I found my way easily. There was my manager standing by the desk looking at his watch. He saw me and took the lead. No salutes made, I walked behind him. I tried not to look his way, as I was still pumped with anger I had a million things to say in my head.

    Reply
  21. R. Alirhayim

    Here’s another unfinished piece. I wanted to write a short study on places I like to visit in my hometown. It is something of an Urban Study.

    Places I like to visit in my Hometown
    I think I live in one of the hottest places on Earth. Do you know what that’s like? Hardly any outdoor activities to enjoy, a lack of physical activity, laziness and a whole lot of ice-cream (not that the latter is bad in any way). Yet living here has its’ many advantages. Places to enjoy an afternoon cup of coffee over the water, or somewhere you know you’re going to find a friend in. It’s a small town and you’re bound to come across someone you know in one of these places. Because I am an architect, I will share illustrations with you that will capture the essence of the these places. Where even my words would not be able to convey.

    Riffa Palms (Riffa Views):
    All ideas start somewhere, mine started in this place. It’s a cafe’ a few blocks away from my house. I always hated crowded places, and though this is a crowded place, there is something about it that makes it unlike any other place. The semi-circular openness of the place is a winner. I bet this is essentially why people always come back here. Opening on a void of space that attracts all sorts of people. Children playing, people grocery shopping and then there’s the people like me … sitting across that coffee table … watching. This is Riffa Palms.

    I have noticed the increase of open spaces like this in Bahrain over the last 5 years. It’s good to see that investors are beginning to introduce new enterprises to the area aside from the many malls sprawling across the country.

    Tala Plaza:
    Then there’s the place I have lunch in almost every day. A 2 minute drive from where I work. This is Tala Plaza. I don’t feel like I am in Bahrain when I am here. Its mediterranean architectural style, road cafes and stone walls make you feel at home. I love how this place is full of textures. One of the reasons why this place does not echo modern.

    I had a few more on my list that I have not started with. All the illustrations are drawn by me.

    Reply
  22. Juanita Ellingson

    Thanks for this post, and my perfectionism leads to procrastination and avoidance. I love to see that I’m not the only one and that there is a solution! Thanks!

    Reply
  23. Robert

    My next book is coming out August 25th and I have publicly announced it. It is in the third and final re-write. Why so specific? By setting the release date I have committed to myself that hell or high water for better or for worse it’s going to be published. I wrote it last year, let it sit for several months, and then pushed for the last five months on cleaning it up. Mad at myself that I missed the original April 1st deadline, which I justified by saying it was unrealistic, but not now.

    Will I make mistakes, sure, will I ever be perfect, absolutely not. Once I am comfortable with those two realities it was easy. Cover is done, hook is done, blurb is done, and near halfway point of last re-write. August 25th. End of story!

    Reply
  24. Azure Darkness Yugi

    Yuna Belladonna. She’s not truly related to the Belladonna family because she was adopted. She’ s a Brown Bear Faunus. Her family was killed by a group of bandits who enjoyed killing Faunus. Thankfully, Ghira brought them to justice. Blake was nervous around Yuna do to her being a Bear Faunus. She met a few Bear Faunus that left a poor impression. But as they grew up together, Blake relaxed and accepted Yuna as a sister. She did have a brother named Zack, but having a sister is nice. It helped that Yuna shares Blake’s love of books and fish. The Belladonna family was there for the Bear Faunus when she found love in a human boy named Tidus.

    Her family accepted him as thanks to him, Yuna became more outgoing and less shy. There was an incident where her left eye was cut out. By a member of the White Fang who was upset at Ghira for stepping down as the leader. They trusted him and he let them down. Tidus with no hesitation offered his own eye to replace the one Yuna lost. So Yuna had a green eye and a blue eye.

    All was well until the relationship between Yuna and Tidus began to falter. It all began with a boat trip. Leaving an island who’s people are struggling because of the exploits of The White Fang. A group she’s with. Tidus tried to comfort her, but the conversation turned into an argument. “It’s not your fault.” Tidus said for the third time.

    Reply
  25. George McNeese

    For me, perfectionism is a curse. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve let perfectionism slow me down. I certainly fall into the first downfall: not submitting my work. I always fear my work will not be good enough to publish. That stems from a fear of being perfect and to be accepted by my peers. But I believe once I overcome that fear and start by submitting one story, it will slowly get easier. Rejection is not an easy thing for me to accept. But I know that’s part of the writing process. I can’t hold in my work forever.

    Reply
    • william Straw

      I understand well

  26. EndlessExposition

    This scene follows closely after one I posted on yesterday’s practice. Asterisks indicate italics. Reviews are always appreciated!

    “I wouldn’t have taken you for being a religious woman,” Detective Cameron remarked as we walked back to the parking lot.

    I shrugged. “I’m not, particularly. Both of my parents are Catholic and I was raised in the Church, but I haven’t been to mass voluntarily since college.”

    She raised an eyebrow inquisitively. “So why mention it?”

    “Because I had a feeling it would piss Calista off.” Detective Cameron chuckled and shook her head. “What?” I asked as we slid into the car.

    “You’ve been in Briar Creek less than two months and already you’ve made an enemy of the most powerful woman in town. Seems you’ve got a talent for starting trouble.”

    “Funny. That’s what everyone keeps telling me about *you*.”

    She smiled at me. Not her usual dry smirk – an honestly delighted smile that reached her eyes. “Then I suppose we’re well suited.”

    It took me a moment to register that I was smiling too. “I suppose we are.” I was still smiling as we left the church parking lot and drove away. I was out of practice and my face hurt a bit, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop. *Today is just full of surprises.*

    Reply
  27. Linda Lee Williams

    Perfectionism can’t make readers like your story, no matter how well you write. Many readers don’t know the difference, nor do they care. So, write the story in your heart, write with sincerity–and do the best job you can. Nothing will ever be “perfect.”

    Reply
  28. Steve Bicker

    So much truth in your piece. I’m guilty of all charges but my perfectionist side has also helped quite a bit. To me, it’s a balancing act. You really want your passion and creativity to outweigh your perfection. Children will give up playing music or art because they get frustrated with themselves, which is a form of perfectionism. That’s when it’s important to guide a child to understand the joy of learning and exploring and letting go of self-judgment.

    What has helped me is to look back at older writings when I thought I was on top of my game and I realize: “Wow. What crap this is! I’ve gotten so much better!”

    One’s writing will improve merely by JUST writing. After all, the point of writing is to communicate an idea or an image or a feeling, with EXACTLY the right number of words; not too many of course (which is most often the case) and not so few that what you want to convey suffers.

    I have down this: I’ll take a scene, or a concept, and write it out and save it. Then I’ll write the same thing the next day. Then the next day and on and on…

    By the second week, the scene or concept WILL be shorter, crisper and clearer. It JUST will…

    Really enjoyed your piece, although that opening paragraph COULD have been tightened up just a bit… (wink, wink)

    Reply
    • LilianGardner

      I agree with you Steve. May I quote a part of your post, which rings true with me.
      I have down this: I’ll take a scene, or a concept, and write it out and save it. Then I’ll write the same thing the next day. Then the next day and on and on…
      By the second week, the scene or concept WILL be shorter, crisper and clearer. It JUST will…

  29. Danka Orihel

    Great article, Kellie!
    I could see myself clearly in it. I need to let go of my ‘perfectionist’ tendencies and finish my novella
    I’ve been working on for three years

    Reply
  30. 709writer

    Perfectionism kills my productivity. Sometimes a scene is so vivid in my head, but when I sit down to write, my inner critic slows me down and forces me to edit as I go, which drives me crazy…it helps me to write in a notebook with a pencil instead of typing because with typing it’s too easy to backspace a mistake. Thanks for the encouragement, Kellie. Farewell, downfalls of perfection! : )

    Julia finally slammed into the ground at the bottom of the steps. Swallowing back a sob, she pushed up on her hands and knees and cringed at the shooting pain in her shoulder, which had taken the brunt of the fall.

    “Get back here, you little brat,” Sean shouted behind her.

    A gasp shuddered into her lungs and she leapt to her feet and broke into a sprint up the sidewalk. She looked over her shoulder. He was still behind her. He shoved people out of his way and kicked over a baby stroller.

    Julia clamped a hand over her mouth as the baby in the stroller wailed. The woman who’d been pushing the stroller righted it and stroked the baby’s head.

    Julia kept pumping her legs, but nausea swished in her stomach and a sharp ache started in her chest. How could Sean treat people like that?

    She’d probably never know the answer.

    Cutting down an alleyway, Julia darted through puddles from the recent rain and chugged quick breaths.

    Sean’s yelling voice echoed behind her. “When I get my hands on you I’m going to finish what I started.”

    Breathing hard, she yanked herself to a stop by the rung of a ladder and lunged onto it, taking the rungs two at a time. She was shaking. Sean had tried to hurt her once. She wouldn’t let him do it again. Not without fighting back this time.

    The ladder quivered and she stopped climbing to stare down between her shoes. Sean ascended, his hands quick on the rungs, his cold blue eyes swallowing her.

    A gulp of air rolled down her throat and she pulled herself up faster. She kept her eyes focused high, fixing them on the handles at the top of the ladder. Memories slid their tentacles into her mind. Images of Sean looming over her, holding her down. Her own voice pleading.

    Tears welled in Julia’s eyes and she blinked them away. She just had to focus on going up. To the roof. Once she reached it, she could either go into the building through a roof entrance or she could jump to the next building. She’d make it. She had to.

    Julia curled her tired, chafed fingers around the vertical handles at the top of the ladder and hauled herself up onto the roof.

    Then a hand clamped around her ankle.

    Reply
  31. Fabio Salvadori

    Great article.
    You gave me the inspiration to write the piece below in my daily writing exercise.

    How many time have you heard the expression “The human body is a perfect machine”?
    Personally, a lot. Everywhere and from all types of people. The very religious one use it to prove that God knows his job. Or mother nature, if they are not religious. The healers to convince that you already have what you need to cure yourself. The scientists to explain their never-ending quest to understand how the body works. Even the machine builders use the human body as their blueprint to build robots and machines.
    But is it true?
    The idea that the human body is an example of perfection can be daunting. If my body is so perfect why I am not? For a long time, I thought that there was something broken in my software. I mean, if the hardware is perfect by definition than the problem must be in the software that runs it. So, there must be some glitches in my mind, or soul, that compromise the system despite the perfection of the body.
    A few years ago, during my summer break, I was enjoying a sunny day in the south of Italy. I love to read novels when I’m on holiday but that day I run out of books on my Kindle, and there was no connection to buy something else. So I started reading a book about anxiety and fears by an Italian physiologist. I don’t remember how it happened that have such a book in my library, at that time I wasn’t interested in not fictional books, but it was the only unread one.
    I still remember the shiver on my back when the author, at the very beginning, challenged the idea of the perfection of our body.
    How can we say that the human body is perfect when cancer can grow inside us without any perceivable sign while a not so dangerous thing like kidney stones are so damn painful?

    That was a shock. The idea that our body is not perfect opened up a new world to me. Perfection doesn’t exist. That’s it. Everything is always changing, so there can’t be such thing as perfection. How liberating is it to realise that nothing is perfect?
    I am fascinated by what scientists and engineers are doing in fields like robotic and artificial intelligence with their continuous improvement aiming to perfection. But, I think that our natural imperfection is the one things that we can’t recreate and that makes us so human.

    Reply
  32. Eva Szarafinski

    I despise it. I keep putting off submitting because I’m afraid it’s not good enough. Every time I revise, I can’t help but make some sort of correction. It drives me crazy to the point I’ve put off writing, and that’s crazy!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Confessions of a Perfectionist Writer | Creative Writing - […] Which perfectionist downfall do you often fall prey to? Let us know in the comments below.  […]
  2. Doubts and Certainties – I think, I say, I do - […] was reading one of the many emails The Write Practice sends. Below is an […]
  3. Kill Perfectionism With This One Practice - […] efforts yielded nothing, so I read. And researched. And listened to podcasts and watched videos. (A perfectionist’s fancy way…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Say Yes to Practice

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts:

Popular Resources

Books By Our Writers

313
Share to...