10 Ways for Writers to Toss Out Perfectionism

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Do you know writers who are miserable because they equate success with perfectionism? They seldom find satisfaction with their creativity and are rarely pleased with others’ accomplishments. Some say the perfectionism trait is determined by the writer’s personality, childhood, education, life experiences, and a host of other variables. Really? None of us are perfect writers, so friends, we need to get past it.

Too often I view my writing not as an art form but as the perfect story. The result could be a book without heart, passion, or human frailty. Thats when I must take a break and evaluate who I am and why Ive allowed the demon called perfectionism to threaten my creativity.

Don’t get caught in a perfectionist/performance trap.

For the record, friends, neither is our self-worth wrapped up in book sales. Nor is it based on how many rewrites, edits, writers we mentor, conferences we attend, social media numbers—get the picture? Our self-worth is based on our relationship with God and how we show His love to others.

The key is to accept who we are, our strengths and limitations, and move forward with an attitude of grace. We must move forward, perfecting our craft, not demanding perfection.

But its difficult. Here are 10 ways Ive found to toss out perfectionism like day-old trash and hug acceptance like a long-lost friend.

1.  Accept I am human, and humans are imperfect creatures who must learn to forgive themselves and others. Im not an exception, but a member of a beautiful collection of people. I do not have to be in control, and I can say no.

2.  Accept I am unique and not to be compared with any other person or writer on the planet. I am loved by God. He has made me unique. I treasure the time spent with Him.

3.  Accept I can finish a project with definite steps and organization, but the project doesnt define who I am. Everything will get done in due time, and we can plan for it. But if we fail, thats okay, and the process is how we learn.

4.  Accept I can receive constructive criticism and develop strength from my mistakes and failures, not dissolve into a puddle of self-imposed worthlessness.

5.  Accept I can take time to enjoy life and those people special to me. I need time to rejuvenate. We all need to recharge. Get outside and breathe in Gods creation.

6.  Accept I can walk away from a project’s rejection and still be valued and worthy of love.

7.  Accept I can laugh at myself and the world. Humor is a biblical and scientific salve for all ailments.

8.  Accept realistic goals and remember to dream!

9.  Accept I must take care of myself, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

10. Accept the value of transparency. I can reach out to others when Im down, need to brainstorm, or simply need to hear anothers voice.

Perfectionism is a nasty trait that can ensnare us. Unlatch the trap and set yourself free!

In the comments below, share how you fight the tendency to be perfect.