Starting

Well, I guess I should be grateful to Little Miss Zuma for getting the blog ball rolling.  Who knew lambs could type with hooves?

Anyway, at least “she” realized that “I” was dragging my feet getting started with blogging, and I couldn’t help but wonder why.  After all, I’m a writer, supposedly, so it’s supposed to be the be-all and end-all for me to put words on the page.  I even had things that I knew I could write about.  So why was I dragging my feet so much?

Perfectionism.

Now, my image of a perfectionist is someone who is always perfectly done up, house perfectly cleaned up, perfectly organized, perfectly stressed out about details.  The kind of person you love to hate.

That doesn’t describe me at all.  At any given time there is some form of animal poop on me, my house can best be described as very lived in, and I can only find things if no one moves my piles.  Not exactly my idea of a perfectionist.

But I took Margie Lawson’s Defeat Self Defeating Behaviors class again this January (if you haven’t, by all means check it out, it’s awesome! http://www.margielawson.com/) and it kept coming back around to the same issue.  I was stalling out with my writing because I’m a perfectionist.

I was trying too hard to make sure everything was perfect before I even started, afraid to do anything in case it wasn’t perfect, waiting for the perfect time so that perfect prose could tumble out of my fingertips on to the keyboard.  So I spun my wheels, stalling, keeping digging in the same rut, vowing over and over to make some changes soon, as soon as I can get that perfect setup arranged.

It ain’t gonna happen.  Not now, not next week, not ever.

For example, this blog.  I’d been stressing myself out trying to come up with the perfect theme, the perfect representation of myself.  Making every post a perfect blend of content, wit, and technical expertise.  I’d stalled myself out again and was busy going nowhere.  I’d forgotten one of the most important things about why I wanted to write in the first place.

Because it’s fun.   It was fun for “Zuma” to write the first post, and I got a kick out of everyone’s reaction. That was why I want to write in the first place, to connect with people.

But then, I started to wonder why I was so hard on myself in one area of my life, but couldn’t care less about being perfect in others.  I mean really, if you come over to my house and have a problem with the morning’s toast crumbs still being on the floor, there’s a broom in the pantry. Knock yourself out.  No, really.

Why could I let some things go without a fuss, but stew myself into inertia with other?  It hit me yesterday while pouring blood for the vampire bats.

It’s because my definition of myself doesn’t depend on my success as Susie Homemaker.

But as Susie Writer, or Susie Animal Care Person, that’s a different story.  Because I care more about those roles and what they say about me.  I want to do well and succeed in those facets of my life much more than I want to be known for having clean floors.  As long as roaches aren’t breeding in my sink and there isn’t a film crew from “Hoarding” at my door, I can let that go.

But not the important stuff like writing that can be put off for a “perfect” moment?  Inertia is my frienemy.

So, what to do?

I remembered a quote I’d run across a few years ago that seemed to fit the situation:

“You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it started.”

It’s so simple, but for a life long perfectionist/procrastinator, it can’t be said too loudly or too often.

Just do it.

That’s the key.  Just do something, you can clean up after yourself later if it isn’t quite “perfect.”   Just make the best effort you can and…Start. 

That’s what these first posts represent.  Just…starting.  I’ll find my groove along the way, and with feedback from such awesome peeps like you all, it won’t be too long, either.

How about you?  Is there anything that holds you back?  Is there something that keeps you from getting started or following through?  I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for not caring if it’s perfect!

2 thoughts on “Starting

  1. Oh, Callene I’m so with you on this. I struggle with the perfect thing, too. It gets ridiculous sometimes. My mouth has to be held just so before I can put pen to paper. Ugh! It’s just an excuse because I’m afraid what I write won’t be perfect and of course it won’t be. Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to be bad and that helps a little.🙂

  2. Shellie Sakai says:

    Well, I agree with 110% of this blog. I, too, am infected with the perfect bug. But, only on the things that really matter. And you hit that nail on the head, my writing. It has to be perfect, it has to have meaning, it has to have plot structure, etc, etc……..

    My fav quote was from Louis L’Amour – “If you’re going to write, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”

    Says it all – doesn’t it? Great post – keep them coming! No pressure, ya know?!!!😀

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