The Battle with Perfectionism

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A Writer’s Log

Amazingly, I am hitting some kind of a stride in my novel about art forgery in 1914.  I am traipsing around in the world of Monet’s garden, Paris art supply shops, New York Auction Galleries and the Manhattan homes of some very rich people who have more money than taste. Finally the writing is flowing. It is a most satisfying feeling, and I will only take a minute to post this, then indulge in another 8 minutes on social media distraction before I get down to work again.

Writing fiction is freeing when it is not torture. Writing is easier when one resists the siren pull of all things around writing that are not writing: research, building an author platform, and reading great books.  It is so easy to justify getting lost, especially in social media. And then, once a writer musters the necessary commitment to advance the manuscript, there is the ever looming fear of looking like a fool.

Perfectionism lurks over our heads, polluting the landscape, filling us with doubt and driving us back to the time wasters, or the fridge. If you think too much about the quality of what is being written, your confidence withers and your writing session crumbles away.  What is a writer to do? In my case help came from trolling Twitter where I found a link to the inspiring and wise words of Anne Lamott, a writer who has much to say about writing and life in her book Bird by Bird.  Lamott advises us to remember that you can’t get to the third and fourth drafts until that first lousy one is down, and the first one is just for you.

So just write.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” Anne Lamott

Now back to writing.  I am having lunch with Claude Monet today. Can’t wait.

 

p.s.  A note about the picture: This is Flora Miller at her typewriter, taken in 1919, and found in the online collection of the Library of Congress.

About Sandi Krawchenko Altner

Author
This entry was posted in Sequel, Storytellers, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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