I seem to be stuck on words that begin with the letter P this month. Not on purpose. Oops another P word.
There’s a reason PERFECTIONISM is today’s word.
As I rewrote the beginning sentence of my WIP (work in progress) for the jillionth time, I realized that I was striving for the perfect opening hook and not moving on with the story.
That led me to thinking about how the need for perfection can stymie all of us.
The dictionary defines PERFECTION two ways:
- a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence
- the highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence, as in some art
Creating something that is perfect is not a bad goal — until that need leads to perfectionism where you regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.
According to Psychologytoday.com, perfectionists regard life as an endless report card on accomplishments or looks, which is a fast track to unhappiness, depression, and eating disorders.
Perfectionists focus on avoiding failure and miss all the joy of learning from mistakes.
It’s easy to slip into the perfection trap. I did.
My fear of a lengthy revision letter from my editor brought out a desire to produce a perfect opening. In reality, all I ended up doing was road blocking myself.
If you’re worried you might be slipping into the perfection trap, here’s an on-line test.
To overcome a tendency toward perfection, I’ve found a Hemingway quote as a reminder for those times when I start down the slippery slope of perfectionism.
Since we’re all apprentices in one way or another, maybe the quote will work for you, too.