Your quest for perfection slows down your blogging progress. Blogging requires frequent and consistent action. If you obsess over making each post perfect before you hit “publish,” your published posts will be few and far between.
The same goes for anything you choose to write, such as essays, articles, or books.
Today, veteran freelance writer and blogger Jennifer Brown Banks (@PENPROSPER1) offers her hard-learned lessons on how to give up your need for perfection. Read on to learn how to stop perfecting and begin publishing.
For many years, I tried to deny it—my obsession with perfection and how it shaped my life, distorted my expectations, and affected my blogging. This inner-demon wreaked havoc with my peace as a writer and woman.
I tried to call it everything else: high standards, fastidiousness, and thorough-mindedness, but “a rose by any other name is still a rose.”
Dr. Phil often says, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge first.”
So, here’s yet another step in my process to take back my sanity and accept myself in all my myriad phases, stages, and flaws.
My name is Jennifer Brown Banks and I am a “Recovering Perfectionist.”
The Road To Perfection Obsession Recovery
I was raised with high standards, and, therefore, always thought perfectionism was an admirable goal. I was rewarded for perfect grades and for doing chores perfectly, and it felt awesome.
I didn’t realize that in my early adult years, perfectionism impacted almost every decision, caused me to over analyze, and fed many fears. I was overwhelmed and overstressed, always trying to get things perfectly right.
As I got older, (in my mid 30s), miraculously things changed. As I matured emotionally, and I cared less about what others thought. I cut myself some slack. I realized that there is honor in effort and that mistakes and imperfections can provide great learning experiences and opportunities for growth…if we frame them correctly.
I reconciled myself to the fact that a home that isn’t dusted everyday, a less than perfect credit score, a high body-mass index, or over indulgence in chocolate wouldn’t keep me out of the gates of heaven.
So, I was convinced I had finally “arrived.”
My Education Through Ebooks
I was wrong. Unexpectedly, perfectionism reared its ugly head again—this time, as I embarked upon one of the most important decisions in my creative career.
Weary of the editorial scrutiny, endless delays, politics, and rejection, I decided to take my publishing destiny into my own hands. I opted to enter the ebooks arena.
Launch day arrived. When the first book in my series was released, my fingers could not type quickly enough as I shared the announcement with family, friends, competitors, and fellow-authors.
I was like a proud mama. I felt so accomplished. I was so elated I could have burst.
Then I began work on the second book. There were a few hiccups. The process did not go as smoothly as it had for the preceding book.
But with some trial and error and constant communication with my designer, I had a second book. I was in my glory.
Shortly thereafter, I re-visited the project to check out the goods. As I admired it on my e-reader, I saw it…
Standing out on page 16 was an error that embarrassed me like a big zit on my nose during my acne years.
I had misspelled the word “copywriting.” OMG!
The ebook was not perfect. It was flawed.
I went into panic mode. I thought about issuing a public apology to my buyers, hiding out for a while, perhaps changing my name in the near future.
Eventually, though, I came to my senses. If you’re dealing with this type of drama in your writing or blogging career, you should, too.
It’s time to drop the perfection obsession so you can write and blog freely…without panic about errors.
6 Ways to Drop Your Perfectionist Tendencies
In the popular book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Dr. Richard Carlson shares:
Whenever we want to have something a certain way, better than it already is, we are engaged in a losing battle. Rather than being grateful for what we have, we are focused on what’s wrong with something and our need to fix it. Eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, and you’ll begin to discover the perfection in life itself.
In the spirit of Dr. Carlson’s book, I’ve decided to put this obsessive chapter behind me.
But I’d like to share with you what I learned in the process so you can drop your desire for perfect as well.
Here are six lessons that will help you overcome your perfectionism tendencies.
A misplaced comma or occasional typo won’t ruin your professional reputation, brand you with a “scarlet letter” or compromise your reader’s experience.
Embrace the mistake, learn from it, then move on. (Plus, remember that you can always go back and edit your post after it publishes.)
As a wise man once said, “If you can laugh through it, you can live through it.” Laugh often—especially about your mistakes.
Before your “opus” goes public, have a second set of eyes review it.
Proofing is particularly important for special projects or books that require payment. But blog posts require a review, too, even if you just use an online proofing or grammar service.
Consider a paradigm shift.
Instead of striving for perfection, aim for excellence. It affords greater peace and greater odds of success. Your readers will appreciate it more, too.
Celebrate small victories along the way.
It takes courage to be a writer, a blogger, an author, and a speaker, and to face rejection or criticism from editors, agents, readers. For every step you make toward your goals—a class taken, a book bought, a chapter completed, a blog post published, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re one step closer to where you desire to be.
Recognize that we are so much more than our accomplishments.
“We are human beings, not human doings.” Your written and published work is an accomplishment, but it’s more important to be happy and fulfilled than perfect.
Experience is a great teacher. It can inform, inspire, transform and empower us.
Don’t shy away from it, good or bad. If you do, you’ll lengthen your learning curve.
And, when you give up your obsession with perfectionism, you’ll produce and publish a lot more work much more quickly. Your blog and your readers will benefit from this change in mindset.
About the Author
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist, ghost writer, award-winning blogger and author. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications including:.ProBlogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, Women on Writing and the Well-Fed Writer E-zine.
Banks is the managing editor of Coffeehouseforwriters.com, where she also teaches creative writing classes. When she’s not at the keyboard, she loves cooking, reading, “Jeopardy,” music, and shopping.
Find out more about Jennifer here: http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com/