Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life…I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
Besides perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force. Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground–you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip…
Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend…we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here–and by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.
– Anne Lamott
Amy Rogers Hays says
Anne Lamott has such a gift encourage us to simultaneously relax and not be afraid of hard work. I love that line “Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up,” because it captures my week so well. Thanks for passing along Anne’s benediction of peace in the messiness of writing and life, Caroline!
Linda Jackson says
Thanks, Caroline. 🙂
Margaret Simon says
Anne Lamott has a way of making me believe in myself more. She is a good friend and I’ve never met her. Thanks for this wisdom today.
This post is a gift to anyone who wants to write. Thank you for this lovely present!