Monday, May 11, 2009

On not being perfect

I'm indebted to Jurgen Wolff for the following. He writes:
On Ali Edwards' crafts blog she wrote about working through creative fear. She identified five typical fears. I really liked what she said about this one:

"Thinking this is the one and only chance to tell this story so it simply must be perfect. Oh man, what a way to stop you in your tracks. What does perfect mean to you? And who is the judge? Perfect is so very relative. What is perfect to me in this moment may be entirely imperfect to you. To me, perfect is actually taking time to tell your stories. Risking that bit of yourself to document your experience. Perfect is carving out a bit of time to be creative. Perfect is embracing the imperfection inherent in creating something that comes from your heart, and your head, and your hands. Let it go. Simply begin writing. Tell the story in simple, plain sentences one word at a time. Keep writing until all the words have spilled onto the page and then go back and edit. Perfect is actually telling the story rather than letting fear keep you from sharing the lives and lessons of your family."

This reminds me of the essay I was writing on Saturday: I kept struggling with getting started until I remembered (yet again) that getting it down right the first time is an impossibility. Getting words down is the way to start. Once there are some words - any words - on the page you start to see progress, but not until then. It's that Anne Lamott axiom about 'shitty first drafts' - nothing is right the first time round.
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