I confess. I used to be a perfectionist. The upside of being a perfectionist is that you have high standards for everything that you do so you do most things well. The downside is, well, there are many downsides. It can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress even about relatively unimportant things. It can contribute to your not feeling good about yourself because of not reaching some mythical level of performance. Most importantly, it keeps you from trying new things, from allowing yourself to go into uncharted territory, because it’s almost impossible to be good at something when you are a beginner. Overall being a perfectionist is a hard, unforgiving way to live, and not much fun.
Recently it dawned on me that I might be letting go of this lifelong noose. I was thinking about my writing process in regards to this blog. About how I sometimes begin writing about one topic only to find that embedded in the first topic is another one and that it is this second topic that is the one I really want to explore. (For example, my last post, “62…”, ended up being about my dad which was a huge surprise to me!) About how if I let too many days go by without writing I actually start to feel itchy. (Ok, I know that sounds weird!) But more to the point of this post, I was thinking about my decision process in regards to when a post is ready to be published or go “live.” Much to my surprise (again), I realized that I don’t need it to be perfect. What I need is for each post to capture what I’m feeling and thinking; that my writing flows well which I determine by reading it aloud many times and making edits accordingly; and that, hopefully, there is at least one deeper truth in there somewhere. I make many revisions while I write but I’m also ok with continuing the editing process after the post is published. At some point I get eager to put the post out there, to allow it to have readers, and to open myself up to the possibility of getting feedback. This does not sound like a perfectionist to me, for which I am very glad.