WHAT’S PLAYING: The Pierces “Lights On”
“It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, writing is hard. And, for me at least, it doesn’t get any easier. Sure, I’m a better writer now than I was a year ago, but the actual process of getting ideas out of my head and on to the page remains both frustrating and futile. For every page I write, I delete two. You do the math.
My problem is that I’m a perfectionist. The attention to detail that makes me a good chemist is anathema to creativity. I get caught up in the little things, debating comma placement instead of focusing on writing. I lose perspective. Then I lose patience. Finally, I lose the story.
Every word must be dissected, weighed, and measured by my internal critic before it can see the light of day. Let’s call her “Bitchy Jacqui” or “BJ”. (Insert pun of your choice *here*.) That nagging little “expletive” is forever reminding me that, no matter how good I might think a particular piece of writing is, it’s not good enough. I can’t seem to translate the images in my head to the written word. Not perfectly.
BJ does have a point. I’m not nearly as good a writer as I someday hope to be. I’m learning, and happy to be doing so, but still, there are so many stories I want to tell and my writing is just not good enough to pull them off.
At least, not yet.
I’m lucky enough to have a great mentor who also happens to be a fantastic writer. I’ve been promising to send him the first chapter of my novel for over a year now, and still haven’t done it. It’s not ready yet. It’s not perfect. I have nightmares in which he shows up at my door, waving pages and demanding why I wasted his time with such drivel. (I know. I have issues.)
Letting go of perfection isn’t easy for me. Do it right the first time is sort a battle cry for my profession. Let’s face it, if there’s any career where perfectionism is required, it’s nuclear power. That and the medicine.
The trick is having patience. With myself and with life in general. I know that my skills will grow with time and practice, and I’m putting in the necessary work to improve: taking classes, writing, reading, etc. I just have to give myself time.
What are you doing to bring you closer to your dreams? How are you moving forward? What motivates you to keep pushing for the life you truly desire?
Things won’t always work out the way I want. I can’t control that. What I can control is how I deal with setbacks.
I choose to move forward.
How about you?