Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Solution to Being a Perfectionist - Discovery #4

First things first. Trying to blog chronologically is turning out to be annoying since two of my scheduled posts didn't post.  It's messing up my timeline. So from here out - no more trying to chronicle each writing session. It is what it is.


Almost immediately after starting this experiment (Start Here) I realized coming up with a short term writing ideas is not my cup of tea. I had to write some thing other than my journal and blog.  Inspiration for my project (and I use the term very loosely) was not readily present.  Who knew that creativity gets flabby and placid when not exercised on a daily basis?  Anyway I decided to write on an old sci-fi novel I started a couple of years ago.  This is my third tackle. My second produced about 60 handwritten pages before I fizzled out.

At the time writing longhand made for a good strategy. It's true that I am most creative when I write longhand.  My mojo is different and being liberated from technology allowed me to write any where the inspiration hit.  Truth be told, my handwriting sucks and the perfectionist in me didn't feel like taking the time to decipher it. Who can rip to shreds a story they can't even read.

So on January 25th, I restarted this 'story' again this time using FocusWriter because it tracks my progress without too much pressure.  My goal is 30 minutes a day, but I usually stop at about an hour. Which leads me to my latest (and new) discovery aptly named Discovery #4.

Discovery #4: Limiting my writing time keeps my expectations in check.  I end my sessions knowing I met my goal.  Low hanging fruit? Maybe.  But at this time in my life if I write too long, the fearful perfectionist storms in killing all creativity.

In the Artist's Way, Julia Cameron reminds us that you can't be creator and critic simultaneously.

That doesn't mean I don't change things as I write.  I do.  I don't know too many writers that just vomit words all other the page without a second thought (unless you can't read your longhand). Picking and choosing words as they flow are all part of the creative process. As long as I keep it in check.  Having a time limit (at least for now) and writing without the end game in mind is keeping my tendencies to over think, overwrite and over criticize in check. I have no plan  - no plan to publish, no blogging plan, no plan to write a great novel.

The adage is 'fail to plan - plan to fail'.  It's working for me so far.

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