Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perfectly resolved:

I am -- sadly -- too lazy and too frequently hemmed in by deadlines to be a true perfectionist. And even though my head is often in the clouds, I can be quite pragmatic about taking my hands off something and realising I could polish and polish until there's nothing left.

However I do occasionally suffer from a kind of perfectionism -- the worst kind, I think. Some perfectionism is helpful; I like the idea of being so bent on perfecting something that one writes and re-writes or continually improves or refines something. This seems helpful. But there is another kind of perfectionism that doesn't result in a finely-honed creation. Instead, it simply paralyses the creator from even beginning. This perfectionism says: "It won't be brilliant, so perhaps I shouldn't even try."

With more time than usual this week to think about things like blogging and fiction writing, I find myself coming up against this stubborn wall of stupid perfectionism. I want to be good, so I shy from expending the energy to produce -- and, much worse, make public -- anything that will be mediocre or -- horror of horrors -- just downright bad. I was talking to my Mum about this today. (She's better than a psychiatrist and way cheaper.) Her advice was common sense and excellent: The only way to be better is to keep on trying.

Of course. Of course. Why do we forget this stuff? Why do I forget that I should be content with my best and simply work hard to make it better? I'm reminded of one of those biting, so-true-it-makes-you-sick phrases I read somewhere: the only way to start, is to start.

What do you need to start today?

* * * * *

Ruth -- a neverending cycle perhaps, but certainly a very happy one!

Bethany -- there are still a few left! I have been very self controlled :).

Jessica -- 225g butter is the same as 1 cup or two sticks, in US terms. And icing mixture is confectioners' sugar. Does that help? Oh, and yes, some blog promo would be lovely. Thank you!


  1. I suffer from the same kind of perfectionism, so I think I will steal your mum's advice, too. It's all very well to have these sky-high ideals and goals; now we just have to set ourselves to being good enough to meet those goals.

    Thanks for the blogging challenge you set me in your previous post. I have met it at last! Sort of...

  2. I can really relate to this. I have never considered myself a perfectionist. My image of a perfectionist is someone who toils away, correcting themselves, painstakingly making sure every detail is in place. But not long ago someone made the comment to me that perhaps I was a bit of a perfectionist (in reply to something that I was stressing about) and I immediately downplayed it. But I thought about it and discovered that this paralyzing form of perfectionism has been with me for quite some time, gripping me around the ankles and tripping me up before I've taken the first step in a new direction. This is especially apparent at this time in my life when I'm responsible for making decisions for and starting new things with my kids. I don't like it.

    Here's to shaking off and stomping on that paralyzing perfectionism and to keep on trying, as your awesome mum suggests.

  3. Mum's give the best advise! (and, they are cheaper than a psychiatrist. lol)
    I can relate, since I usually fall into the same mode of thinking, that I will never be amazing, so why try to work towards it.

  4. Yes, that helps - thank you!

    Cool, next time I do a friends/links post I'll include you!


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