Writing Life

When Perfectionism Gets In the Way

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I’m not going to lie.

I’ve been having a tough time.

I’ve already deleted those two sentences twice.

While I don’t have OCD, I do have some obsessive traits which sometimes strangle me.

Has anyone noticed I haven’t been posting very much?

No? Good, that’s awesome.

Except it sucks.

Because I have actually been writing prolifically.

For days.

Last night, I was up until 2 AM working and reworking a piece about summer camp.

But I just can’t seem to bring myself to push PUBLISH.

When I first started this blog, I wrote with reckless abandon.

I was fearless.

But now I feel paralyzed.

So many of my cyber buddies manage to blog and publish books. While I am, of course, thrilled for them, I feel less than. I can’t understand what’s wrong with me. I know writing a book isn’t a race, but seriously? This thing is taking forever.

Clearly, I’m suffering from Comparison’s Disease, a 100% made-up syndrome coined by my husband to describe one of our friends — we’ll call him Tom — who is forever comparing one thing to something else.

Say we’re sitting at an outdoor cafe when a limousine blows by. Tom’ll be all: “Do you guys remember when we got caught behind that hearse?”

“Yeah,” I might say. “What’s your point?”

“Well, they’re both long and black.”

And then we’d laugh.

Because Tom’s Comparison’s Disease is funny.

Mine is different.

I’ve subscribed to a lot of blogs. Probably too many. Instead of inspiring me, I find myself losing steam.

Angry voices in my head shout at me.

The voices are pissed off and alternate between reminding me that I need to write better and faster and telling me that I suck. They tell me my words aren’t good enough, that I’ll never finish my book, that I should close up shop and get a job selling erotic toys or smoothies. Or something.

This post isn’t meant to be profound.

I just needed to confess that I’m feeling like a fraud.

Frankly, I just needed write something in 20 minutes.

To prove that I could.

I’ve been here before.

I’m sure I’ll dig my way out of this hole.

I just need to stop trying so hard for perfect.

Because perfect is the enemy.

I know this.

I just need to finish.

And look, 43 minutes later, I did.

Are you a perfectionist? What tricks do you have to keep moving forward when your brain is telling you everything you do is a terrible mistake?

tweet me @rasjacobson

107 thoughts on “When Perfectionism Gets In the Way

  1. I too have been afflicted by perfectionism and Comparison’s Disease–sometimes to the point where I want to write no more–just rest–sometimes I am embarrassed by what I publish–I do not think just you and I suffer from these things–I think we may “feel” it more intensely but I have faith in you and me, that we will untangle the webs in our brains —
    many times I just make a leap even if I am not sure

    1. LouAnn: Thank you so much for your kind words. I know that all creative types suffer from this kind of paralysis from time to time. I’m trying to take a step back from things, so I can just enjoy writing again. I think I got a little too enmeshed with all the social media stuff: Facebook Page, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, subscribing to a zillion blogs. Arrrrgh! I’ve unsubscribed to a lot of blogs (so as to stop comparing and stop pressuring myself to read everything), and I’m taking the summer to relax. I plan to write one piece a week and enjoy life more. Honestly? I think I just need to fill myself up a bit.

  2. Oh man, get out of my head woman. So many blogging friends are having all of these successes . . . published in magazines, book deals, brilliantly written blogs. And I find myself constantly feeling inferior. And stuck. This week I had to force myself to write something, and while it’s not my best work by far, at least I was able to tell a story. Having guidelines through Yeah Write actually helped me do it, or it probably would have been a rambling mess. See? We are always the most critical of our own imperfections. I guess we just have to remember to DO it. Like Nike tells us. Words of wisdom from those marketing geniuses. 🙂

    1. PS: I read that piece of yours, and I LOVED it. I thought it was positively brilliant. Also, I also just voted for it! I know all writers struggle with these feelings at one time or another, but sometimes I REALLY get stuck. That’s why I unsubscribed from a lot of blogs, hit delete on my Facebook “author page,” and decided to take a bit of a break from social media. Honestly, I don’t have anything to sell, so I just have to relax and remember why I started this blog in the first place: because I love to write. Thank you for your reassuring words, Misty. It’s nice to know that people I admire have these same feelings.

  3. You are not the only sufferer of Comparison Disease. (Well, not the only two–being you and Tom.) I (and some in my family) have become increasingly frustrated with the amount of time it’s taken me from first book to publication. I get a severe case of CD in particular when I hear about some 20-something who seemingly walked out of college, landed a book deal, and made the NYT Bestseller list. Yes, I’m happy for them and all that. But it does kind of make me want to scream, “Really?!!! How is that fair?!!! Where are the years and years of paying dues?!!!” Then I get over it and get back to writing, knowing that my journey is my own.

    Best wishes getting out of the funk.

    1. Thanks for bopping over, Julie. I’m taking a break from book writing for now. Honestly, the whole thing needs a major overhaul. The story is compelling, but I just don’t have the energy to do what it takes right now. So I’m calling that first book (draft 7.1) “the book I have but I’m not ready to finish right now,” and I’m just going to enjoy freelancing and blogging for a while. And I need to do some other things, too. Like swim and ride horses. And play. I’ve been sitting on my butt waaaaay too much. I’m trying not to let the voices in my head tell me I’m too big of a failure because I don’t believe I am. I just think it’s time to start a new project, ya know? Good luck on your thang. And if you ever need a beta reader, since I’m NOT actively writing any more, I’m absolutely free to help! And I seem to be much better at spotting things in other people’s work than in my own.

      1. That’s awesome, Renee! Thanks. Actually, the book I’m tackling now was the one I gave up on earlier this year. I shoved it aside in utter exasperation become I didn’t have that energy then either. I wrote another novel in the meantime–just the first draft. When I returned to the pushed-aside project, I was more ready. When I got back from a recent Immersion Master Class with Margie Lawson, I was really ready. Best wishes getting to that point!!!

  4. I think when we get caught up in the trappings of how to blog, creating a brand, having to be omnipresent on social media, etc…it takes away from the satisfaction of writing. You’re writing and looking over your shoulder. And that is one reason it is so hard for me to start–that, and the persistent worry that I have nothing to say that others can’t say better.

    Anyway, lots of love. Keep up the good fight, sweetie.

    1. Meeeegs: Thank you for always watching over my shoulder. I’m practically crying right now. I’m kicking it back a few notches for the summer. Honestly, the way Kasey Mathews did things was better. Focus on writing the book first and then show up and figure out the social media shizz. You, of all people, should not worry that you don’t have anything to say. Even your status update on Facebook are among the MOST entertaining snippets out there! You always have something meaningful to say! But I know what you mean. It feels somehow narcissistic to think we might have something so important to say, but the reality is your voice is the universal voice. Because all of us have something to add. (Even E.L. James.) 😉 Thank you for chiming in today, my dear friend.

  5. I think you’ve probably struck a chord with a lot of writer/bloggers with this one, Renee! I think with writing it’s almost inevitable to compare yourself with others. I certainly have my share of feeling doubtful, insecure. Pretty much every single time I hit that publish button.

    I was complaining about this to Charles (Mostly Bright Ideas) last summer when we met and he said something that stuck with me. I also want to write a book, a screenplay, articles for magazines (who doesn’t, right?) and I have serious doubts I’ll ever get there. Mainly because there are SO many good writers out there.

    He said, sure — but they aren’t YOU. You just have to find your audience. He pointed out that there are millions of readers out there and it only takes a small portion to find YOU and that is who you keep writing for. Even the books on the bestseller’s list? The most successful authors? He said he’d be willing to bet if you stopped a person on the street and asked them if they knew these author’s they would probably say they had never heard of them.
    My point being….I forgot. Oh yeah, keep writing because that’s all you got and you know what? That’s enough.

    1. I know this, Darla. I swear, I know it on the philosophical level. The educated me KNOWS that every writer or creative soul experiences this kind of self-doubt. But I look at you and think: But Darla is FUNNY! She is a Recommended HUMOR Blogger. She’s freakin’ hilarious. She’s got that whole plaid thing goin’ on. Believe me, I’ve said these words to students who have been doubting themselves. I think you have been very smart to sort of avoid Twitter and all that. Has it hurt you? Not really. You have just focused on writing and look at your readership: it’s huge. But more important, you have devoted readers, like me, who LOVE you. I know I have the same thing.

      I don’t know if I’ll ever give birth to a book.

      It feels impossible right now.


      Maybe someday.

      For now, I’m just going to try to get back to focusing less on promoting myself. Because, duh. What’s the point? If I go on Twitter, I’ll have conversations and chat it up, but it will be less pimping posts.

      I think I’m having a four year blogging crisis. During this time, Danielle Steele probably wrote 20 books. (Assuming she’s still alive.)

      Thanks Dar.

      1. Thanks, Renee. I think a huge part of being a writer is always feeling insecure. That your words will NEVER convey your intention perfectly enough. I think even Stephen King said this once.

        And I hear you on blogging crises. I’m writing my post for my 3rd blogaversary today. Gah!

        I think that this is true: when writing has lost it’s fun, it’s time to rethink what you’re doing and why. When I feel free and just let go, my best writing comes out. When I worry or overthink stuff, my writing suffers.

        (I can’t get into twitter or promoting my blog’s facebook page, just too much work!)

        1. That’s the thing. (And you know this.) I got kind of hooked into something bigger than me. A group of very passionate people who are amazing and prolific, but WOW! I just can’t keep up. It doesn’t make sense to keep pimping a Facebook page when I don’t have anything to sell or promote? Duh. And if i want to chat on Twitter, um, that’s cool, but again, I don’t have a book to publish…so I need to stop worrying that I’m not doing enough there.

          I agree that when we don’t overthink things, our best writing comes out. Time to go back to that. Writing for writing sake.

          Meanwhile, good ole Stephen King used to leave his family for four months — binge drinking in the woods — and then return with a best seller. I can’t relate to Mr. King. I prefer Maya Angelou, who didn’t publish a book until she was over 40. 😉

          1. I never read any of King’s work until I read On Writing and it really resonated with me. Renée, I believe he would totally agree with the choices you are making at this moment. Seriously. He and Maya would agree. I’m sure of it. And me. I’m going to write more further down.

  6. Hang in there, Renee! It hurts me to see that my new bff and MENTOR is having a tough time!!!! Hopefully, it will pass soon and you will just let things just flow. I’ve only been blogging for 3 months but have noticed that the more followers I have the more inhibited I get about pressing the publish button! We tend to worry more, question ourselves more and feel that we can’t compare to others. Keep smiling, keep using your fab hair product, keep writing to TechSupport and keep being you! xo

    1. That is EXACTLY it, Maria. When I first started I was reckless. I didn’t even know I was supposed to comment back. Who knew? But know that I have thousands of followers, I DO feel a kind of pressure to be really good. And it’s been paralyzing. Also, I made the mistake of announcing that I was writing a book, and now people keep asking about it. So if you decide to do that? Don’t tell anyone! Just write it and when you feel it’s as far as you can take it, just ask a few people to read it, make your corrections and BOOM! Release it. Don’t be me. Oy. 😉

      Meanwhile, I’ll shake this off.

      I always do.

      Sometimes, I just need to share my angst. This community of writers is so incredible. It helps to know I’m not alone. Thanks for coming to my rescue! (Have you stuck that letter in the mail yet?)

      1. I’m glad you shared your angst. It means you are simply human! I did put the letter in the mail earlier in the week. Some of the stickers may be peeling off so you might have to glue them on before sending them to Tech. 🙂

  7. I’ve been there, too – in a rut where I wonder what the payoff of my writing will be, and why I’m doing it in the first place. I’m not a perfectionist, but I can be hard on myself. One of the most impactful sayings I heard recently was “you don’t have to believe everything you think.” It made me stop. Dead stop. When I thought my blog would go nowhere? That I was writing lackluster drivel that would only get deleted anyhow? I don’t need to believe that anymore! I think it was Martha Beck who coined the term “the reptile in my brain,” meaning that snide, unhelpful voice that tries to derail your progress and bring you down. Toss that bugger out of your head, Renee! Kick it to the curb and squash it, because you’re a witty, compassionate writer who has so much more to share with the world!! 🙂

    1. Thanks D: I’m working on it. Believe me. I’m working on it. The voice is attached to a critical person in my life. And events in my life. So this is something I’m actually getting some help with now. Because you are spot on when you call the voice a “reptile in the brain.” It is ugly and old and interfering, and it needs to go.

      1. Weeding our gardens can be very difficult. It seems that mental weeds grow so much easier than the flowers we should be cultivating. I’ll pray for you, Renee – for courage, for clarity and for peace. Hang in there and know that you’re prayed for. Deanne

  8. Oh geez, I just read an article on this! It was saying that re-writes can be your own worst enemy, at one point you just have to let go and give your writing to the world, and what happens, happens. Let me go try to find it. I used to a perfectionist of sorts, it’s also called “not wanting to feel vulnerable”, you don’t want something to be out of place or unattractive that people will criticize. An artist has to accept being vulnerable at some point or they’ll never put anything out. Let me try to find that article…

    1. Thanks Madge. I know all about that phenomenon, but that’s NOT what was going on with my book. My book has serious problems. An unlikeable main character, and actual flaws in plotting. All of these things can be fixed! I’m just tired of the manuscript right now. Unfortunately, I waited for way too long to get feedback, and now that I’ve received it, I feel kind of burnt out. I’ll revisit this project with fresh eyes — eventually. I have a feeling when I do, everything that needs to be done will just be obvious to me.

  9. I think we all suffer from this at one point or another. I try to only write for the fun of it. If my book doesn’t get finished, it’s not a big deal. It was fun to work on. Judging by the likes and the comments you get, you have an audience that likes what you do! And that is the point! Just keep writing about what you like to write about and we’ll keep enjoying your work!

    1. Thanks Pleun! And that’s it EXACTLY. I love writing – and I’m intensely grateful for the people who show up here to remind me that they relate to my words. I’m trying to get comfortable with the idea that I may NEVER have a book. To me, that feels a little like failure (as it’s been a long time dream/goal), but as Kenny Rogers once said: “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” I’m not folding completely, just putting this book away. For now. Thanks for your kind words — and for reminding me that we all struggle with this.

  10. I am SO not a perfectionist. However, I believe I am a sufferer of AADD (adult ADD). I’ve learned coping skills to help me stay more or less on task. Setting tiny deadlines/goals helps. For example: If I’m writing reports for work, I will have to set a deadline or goal to finish X number of sentences by X time. If I feel my brain starting to get fried (or not being able to focus), I have to stop and take a break. I will get up and walk around, check emails, play solitaire, etc. I find I only need a few minutes, then I can continue. Sure my work takes a bit longer, but I can’t help that.

    Oh, please consider me a sufferer of CD also. Also a sufferer of “Not Fair Disease”.

    1. Eric, I actually think that people with ADD do BETTER with this stuff. As you said, you’ve figured out coping skills and you know that you can write, take a break, write, throw in a load of laundry, write, take the dog for a walk. I’m sooooooo linear, it’s very hard for me to start and stop and start and stop. I like to keep going and going — which is partly why I worry that I’ll never be able to finish a book. I may be an essayist forever BECAUSE I can write an essay in a few sittings. A full length novel? Not so much. I’m making peace with the fact that I’m not writing a book — right now. I’m just trying to get back to joy. 😉 Thanks for being part of my Happy Place.

      If you start feeling life Not Fair, I will agree with you — and then tell you to get back to work. 😉

  11. I think the world of people are all obsessed. I don’t believe anyone is perfect. I think there is something about human nature. We all have human faults. We must remember that NOBODY regardless of position or ability is completely perfect and that to “err is human.”
    Keep plugging on your blogs. I. for one, love reading them.

    1. Hi Mom. I know that being human means being imperfect, but it is another thing to try to convince my perfection seeking brain, which is, apparently, hardwired not to make errors. I wonder if any of that comes from you? Or dad? 😉

  12. Renée, reading your responses to the comments already posted here – and knowing you as I do; I know that you are already doing the right thing to shake those naggy thoughts out of your mind. The thing that we all know is that you write brilliantly already and there is nothing to be worried about as far as your book coming together is concerned. I’ll still be rushing out to buy a copy when it’s published!

    You’ve been there for me on a couple of significant occasions (particularly in relation to my own writing) so if there is ever anything I can do to help keep you focussed on the positive points of yourself and your amazing writing, please reach out. I’ll always enjoy reading whatever you choose to share – whenever you choose to share it.


    1. Christian: I’m so delighted to know you are still out there! I’m actually weeping with joy right now. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but you know when you are having a rough time and people you haven’t heard from in a while rush in to say hello? Well, that’s what it’s like hearing from you right now! I’m actually okay. Just a little bound up. As I’ve said, I’m NOT working on the book right now. It’s NOT happening, and I’m trying to make peace with that so that I can just write again without feeling the pressure that there is some end game here. It’s okay to just write because I love words. I have to believe that for now because the pressure to publish is wrecking my mojo. 😉 You know that I would totally reach out to you! I just we were in the same time zone. Or even 3 time zones away! 😉

      1. I don’t think you’re being melodramatic at all Renée, I am still here and am calling in at every opportunity because you’re just so damn awesome! 🙂

        I’ve been going through a very similar thing for the past 6 or so months myself but I’m also working hard to shake it off. It’s good that you know when to take a step back – I know I don’t have to tell you any of this because you are all over it, so I’ll just smile and look forward to hearing all about your side trip once you’re relieved of the pressure you’re feeling.

        You’ll always get back to the essence of writing Renée, you’re so thoroughly good at it. This may sound a bit weird but personally, I’ve always felt a sense of timelessness when reading your posts because no matter what you write about you are able to transport your reader into THAT moment. To me, your writing has always had that quality about it that means that whether I read your posts daily or with weeks in between I will always find YOU, sharing with us so generously. I’m only one of the many people who will always read because you are an engaging soul who, even when you are afraid, will still let people see who you are. Time won’t diminish any of your quality.

        I think I need to investigate a move. Maybe one or two time zones. 😉

  13. Oh Renee, I seriously suffer from perfectionist disease. I’m constantly thinking how my words are just not as creative or as unique as another writer’s words. They should be powerful, illuminating etc.
    I have piece of advice that I keep in view when I write, “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
    It’s so hard to risk being less than amazing in the first draft but I’m getting closer up just writing even if it is crap. I figure I can perfect it once I have the basics down.
    It’s just a matter of changing your mindset for an hour of writing. Then we can go back to being perfectionists in all else to feed that part of ourselves. I wish you a few imperfect moments so you can fe like a superstar when you perfect the final draft!

    1. Marcia! How are you? This is not the right place, but I’m wondering if you got my comment on your recent post. You have been on my mind. Thank you for coming to my rescue. I hope you are saving your energy to take care of yourself! I am grateful for your words, and I’m trying not to compare but dagnabit! So many of you are just soooo prolific! Le sigh. I’m hoping you’ll still like me if I’m just a consumer of your books rather than a producer. I’m trying to believe I’m not a quitter if I just write short essays rather than a full-length a manuscript.

      1. Writing is writing. Period. You’re a writer whether its an article, a novel or just something profound on a bar napkin. How could anyone not like you? No one will disown you if the novel doesn’t get written. That’s not why we come here to see you. And yes I did get your message and I responded. Thank you again for your support and for being a friend. 🙂 you rock in more ways than writing, Renee.

  14. Renzay… I’m going to send the voice in my head to beat up the voice in your head.

    Can you go back to writing for YOU? Or choose one of your followers and write for him/her only? That’s it.

    We need a Skype date. Today is my last day of teaching. Grad tomorrow.

    Hugs from Calgary.

    1. Shirtsleeves, you’ve seen me fall apart before. You know I bounce back from these lows. I’m kind of embarrassed that you’ve caught me again. Alas, your book has been born and here I am, still flailing. It hurts. It’s hard. I don’t begrudge you your success. I hope you know that. I really am thrilled for you. It’s just…I really don’t know HOW you do it. I really don’t. If only the voice in your head could beat up the voice in mine. I think I have you beat in that area. But I appreciate your stopping by. I’ve been retreating a bit. Meanwhile, congratulations on your last day of school. It’s about time. When do you start next year? The day after tomorrow?

  15. Yep, Comparison’s Disease is a nasty thing. Happens to me all the time, esp. when folks post their Amazon rankings (happy for them, bummed for me), or I see how wonderfully productive these talented peeps around me are. I get it. But you notice that Comparison-itis only works in one direction? We never compare ourselves to those who’ve said they want to write a book but have never started, or are too scared to even have blogs, or are curled up in a ball, too afraid of living their lives. Why? Because it would be pointless.

    Just like the comparisons we make in the other direction. (You saw that one coming, right?)

    You are not on this planet to live up to the expectations of others, Renee. Give yourself permission to let that go.

    Hang in there,

  16. Boy, does this resonate. I don’t THINK I’m a perfectionist, but every blog post is a tortured exercise in writing, revising, tearing up and starting over. Many of my blogging buddies have such wonderful, breezy styles – they talk with and engage their readers so easily. I don’t seem to be able to do that.

    And the books? Talk about your envy. I have two roughed out in my brain, but the thought of actually sitting down and writing? All those words? ALLLLL those WORDS? I’m paralyzed.

    1. Peggy! Are you FREAKIN’ kidding me? You are THAT writer. You are the girl who can write about everything. You are the girl who turns chicken shit into chicken cordon bleu. How you do that, Peggy? Meanwhile, I do think there is a difference between being an essayist and being a fiction novelist. So WHEN I decide to do another project? It’s going to be non-fiction. I can’t write fiction. I can’t keep the lies straight. 😉

      1. You have a very good point about being an essayist vs fiction writer. I think my talents, such as they are, are definitely more towards the essayist. The problem is, that’s a tough kind of book to write/sell. Who wants to buy a collection of my disjointed ramblings? Le Sigh.

        Thanks for all the kind words but to me, YOU are that writer. You have such a fresh voice – by turns serious and humorous in just the right measure. THAT’S what brings all the boys to the yard. That and your milkshake.

  17. I have seriously had to learn to let go and just hit Publish on posts, or I’d never post anything. One thing I’ve done for myself in a way is set a regular publishing schedule. I’m using my compulsive side to an end — I don’t want to break the posting cadence, so it forces me to let go of less-than-perfect posts. And glory be, my readership doesn’t drop off when I do it, and they don’t laugh me off WordPress.

    1. Hi Jim. My issues are less around bogging than around just losing my mojo. I’ve really felt like i’ve needed a break from my WIP and now I’m taking one. I don’t think it’s bad to abandon a project when it isn’t working. And maybe I’m not abandoning it. I’m just leaving it alone for now. I’m not worried about my readership leaving me, either. It’s more a profound disappointment in myself that I haven’t been able to launch a book in 4 years of tinkering. I’m realizing that as much as I may be a wordsmith, I may not be made to write fiction. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

  18. Wow.

    I found my way here from a tweet – I don’t think I’ve been here before. But you managed to make me chuckle and think within this one post, where you’re feeling a bit down on yourself. So I clicked over to home, read a few more posts, saw the tons of comments you get. Despite blogging since 2007, chugging along on my little path and starting to feel some of the things you mentioned above, I realize now that I’m still way smaller potatoes.

    Anyway, done is better than perfect. Don’t let it get in your way.

    1. Cheryl: Your comment made me take pause today. Here I am, feeling all broken down, like a farce and my fabulous cyber friends (and even a few strangers) have come to my rescue! And you DARE to call yourself small potatoes? If there is anything that I’ve learned in this journey it’s that it doesn’t matter how big or small we are, how many comments we gather, it’s that we enjoy doing what we do along the way.

      But yes, I’m so grateful for the wonderful supportive peeps who keep me afloat when I start to doubt myself — which apparently happens once every two years.

      I hope your blog is linked to your name because I’m going to try to click over and see what you are all about right now. Thank you for coming to check me out today. Much gratitude for helping me to remember that Hell is where we place ourselves when looking up.

  19. I’m the guy that throws the recipe away and adds a dash of this and a dab of that and a little of the other. Don’t bother to measure. Guess I’m the anti-perfectionist. No advice for you. Just a comment. YOU DON’T SUCK. You have one of the most successful blogs I know of. Accept the word of your fellow writers that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

    1. Oh David. Thank you so much. I’ve been feeling so drained lately. For a lot of reasons. Behind the scenes stuff. Things I haven’t felt comfortable sharing with everyone on the blog. Things I’m still sifting through. I so appreciate your support. Truly.

  20. I hate Nanowrimo for this reason. I felt the same way for a while. Somewhere along the line I stopped comparing. I wondered why so many felt they earned bragging rights over how fast wrote a book. It isn’t a race. That seems really irrelevant since the reader doesn’t care how long it took. In fact, if I am the reader of a cranked out book, I may be concerned. I don’t want to waste my time reading crap. I haven’t looked at my own book for over 2 months and I am not freaking out.
    Keep in mind it is summer. Hardly anyone is around. Save your best stuff for the fall when everyone is back on their computers.
    Post photo essays, quick poems, haikus.
    I think the pressure comes when we want each article to be our best. I am so over that.
    One thing I have learned since going through hell these last two months is that writing is my passion, but I have never enjoyed my gardens more than this summer! Stop and smell the roses, literally!

    1. Omigosh! Yes and yes! I could NEVER do Nanowrimo. I mean, I understand it as an exercise, but I don’t love the idea of rushing through something. Crafting something takes different amounts of time for different people. When I was an English teacher, students used to express frustration about by “that kid,” the one who only spent a few hours on his essay, but then received an A. Well, some people can do things quickly and do them well. For others of us? Things take longer. And guess what? Not everyone has to write a book.

      I’m taking it easy this summer. I know that people read less during July and August, so I’m not killing myself. But I’ll keep developing stuff for the Fall. That’s my plan. And thank you for bopping by with the words of support and to give me perspective. It is definitely time to stop, ride some horses, do some swimming, go for walks with Hubby and, yes, smell the roses.

  21. I relate to this 10000%. I started my blog because I was thinking I would want an online presence for when I got my novel published. UM . . . yeah, well times have changed. Not sure what my goal is now so for NOW just happily (Most of the time) blogging 1-2 times a week. But I DO get that feeling at least once a week of –“Wait, what am I doing??? What about a nonfiction book, etc.?”

    When I got to the end your post I said, “That’s being a writer.” Everything you described is true for all writers. Because even after the book comes out, it’s: “How to get people to buy it, write reviews for it, what do I write for the next one.” It’s kind of endless. I think of that as a comfort somehow . . . knowing that there’s no magic answer with one book or even 8 books.

    Love your honesty, Renee. We can all relate.

    1. Right? It’s the “What am I doing?” thing. Like I KNOW I can make money and get products and stuff from sponsored posts. And that all well and good.

      And yet.

      I always dreamed those little girl dreams of having a book. Even a best selling book. It’s like a dirty little secret. I had that much ambition. But as it turns out, I don’t seem to have the endurance to keep futzing around to make it come to life. In fact, the futzing? Was. Killing. Me.


      I’m stopping. (For now.)

      Even though a lot of people are hell bent on my continuing to plough ahead, the timing isn’t right. So thank you for understanding. As usual.


  22. Speaking as an artist who for 7 years stepped into a studio every morning and stared at canvases that begged for instruction, I can say that stepping away and giving yourself the space to let thoughts and emotions and priorities settle, can change everything. Here are the facts:
    1. you are an awesomely talented wordsmith
    2. you have the drive to get it done
    3. you have the network of support
    4. you’re young and gorgeous with time enough to take a walk and exhale.

    So step off, amiga. And be gentle on yourself.

    1. I’m totally exhaling, Stu. That’s it. I feel like I’ve been banging my head against the floor. It’s not happening. It’s time to stop hurting myself. I need to get out and enjoy the summer: ride horses, swim, run, play, tip my face up to the sky. You know, summer things. The WIP is there if/when I want to return to it. But the time is not now. Not now. Thank you for your support.

  23. Nothing wrong with wanting to do quality work or performing your best, but just remember that usually (in time!) EVERYTHING could’ve been done differently & “a little better”. Yet, if we constantly paralyzed ourselves we’d probably never learn from our mistakes or shortcomings later. Then there are those times when spontaneous creativity happens beautifully, even perfectly, but couldn’t have had we ‘chained’ ourselves to constant doubting & second guessing.

    I think you are already perfect as you are & your quirky life & writing style thoroughly entertains me! Please don’t change a thang, unless I approve it! 😉

    1. Oh Professor! I LOVE my blog! It’s such a source of joy. I can write little essays. It’s the loooong thang that it suck out my life force. So, no, I’m not going anywhere. I just need to be at peace with the idea that I’m stopping work on something I’d hoped to have published by now. In this case, the chains were soooo not fun. IYKWIM.

  24. It’s crazy to me that you’re writing a post like this, because I’ve had these exact thoughts before after reading YOUR blog. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, but I have nowhere near the following that you have on your blog, and I don’t even think I’d know how to handle all of that traffic if I did. I’m working on writing a novel right now (my very first one!) and it’s coming along slowly…but I find myself getting really stuck on what to write on my blog sometimes. Then I wander over to your blog, and I see you writing posts that are sometimes serious and poetic, sometimes reflective, sometimes observational and funny–ALWAYS with like seventy comments at the end. And then I sigh and think, “I am not even on her level.”

    So it’s kind of refreshing to know that even though you are amazing celebrity WordPress blogging phenom, you struggle with issues like this, too.

    1. Rachel, you goofball. You are another one of THOSE people who writes with such joy and such reckless abandon, I just want to clobber you! I love reading your blog! I get jealous of all the fun things YOU do, of all the delicious food YOU make, of the places YOU go, and the people YOU get to hang out with.

      And then I feel stuck.

      It’s true! Sometimes I hide behind my funny and, yes, I struggle. Big time. IThanks for taking the time to remind me that we’re all in this together.

  25. Something to bear in mind, Renée – which I’m sure you do, but here’s a reminder anyway – whatever any of us, yourself included, put out in blogs, books, magazines, social media – it’s only a tiny part of ourselves and most of us polish our output in a way that we wouldn’t, couldn’t do in day to day ‘real life’. Yes, we try to live up to other people’s levels of output, but that’s not the way to live life (and I do it too, so I’m telling myself this as well as you) or we will fail. And who the heck needs to fail all the time? So – step back, close yourself off from all the madness that is the social-media display world (‘cos that’s all it is, really – just a bunch of show-offs!), unsub from as many blogs as will keep you sane – all of them if necessary and, believe me, I’ve done that too – and just stop pushing yourself. Take a break. Enjoy something else, find new things to do or relax (or both).

    Now… how many brackets did I use in this? Did I remember to close them all? Has this comment made sense? Normally, I’d check it but d’you know what? Right at the moment I don’t give a shit.


    1. Val: You are always so good at putting up boundaries. I LOVE that your blog is absolutely unapologetically an award-free zone. Why don’t I have the balls to do that? I love that you don’t give a shit. I do. I think it’s what draws me to your stuff. I love that you post when you want to post and you take breaks when you need to take breaks. You really don’t seem to worry about the expectations of others, and I soooo admire that in you. I’m a disgusting pleaser. If I could kill off that part of myself, I would. I’d kill that part off in a heartbeat. I’m working on it.

      1. Renée, my blog is a cloak – it’s not the whole me. After the previous one (Absurd Old Bird) I swore that, to avoid all the emotional associations that I have with other people’s expectations, I’d not post anything truly personal to my new blog (Arty Old Bird) and I’ve mostly stuck to that. The old one, well I can talk to you about that in an email but I don’t have the courage to do that here in your blog, or my blog or anywhere else online where people know me. Let’s just say that I pushed myself in that blog much further past my own boundaries and it hurt too much. I do have many expectations of how people will perceive me – most of them unrealistic as we’re all flawed and most of are hurting beings, we humans, it’s not just you and I – and I don’t like them. They set up a kind of emotional allergy in me and then… well, you’re going through now what I was going through nearly every day when I wrote the old blog.

        Being a pleaser is very difficult. I was like that much of my life and I find it so discomforting that I have pretty much split myself into my own component parts to survive and I use the parts that don’t have that element – and it hurts a lot still. Maybe I’ll tell you more in email.

        Why don’t you have the balls to make your blog an award free zone (or whatever it is you want to do that you perceive me as being able to do)? Because you’re running along your own track, not mine. I couldn’t do that in my old blog but I can in this one, as I set it up very differently. In a way, in Arty Old Bird, I’m playing a role. I’m Old Bird in it, not entirely Val Erde.

        Maybe it’s time to reinvent yourself?

        1. I hear what you are saying. I really do, and I appreciate it. I don’t think I an play a role. It’s not who I am. Unfortunately, in writing about what I want to write about, I haven’t won friends. We can email about this — and it would probably be helpful to me and maybe you, too. It’s been a painful journey, wanting to write about the things I write about, and then having people get angry at/ignore me. That has sucked. Also, I think I bought into someone else’s idea of what a successful blog is and that has created so much anxiety for me. I’m realizing that ONE person’s idea of success may support that person’s platform, but it doesn’t mean I have to accept all of it. I don’t need/want to blog 3x a week. I don’t need a theme or brand or hook because there is no product behind me. I’m all over the place, and it’s okay.

          The bigger issue is that I feel my limitations as a writer. I know the places I’m weak, and I want to improve in those areas.

          But I can’t not be me.

          I’ve tried to do that before and it near destroyed me.

  26. Preaching to the choir here, sweet girl! I know it, it does indeed suck and there’s no known cure other than exactly what you’re doing – acting your way back into the groove by hitting publish. Or a lobotomy. I love this post and relate to every g-d word. We’ll keep keeping on and trusting this crazy writing process! Hugs!

    1. Mare: I KNOW we are twinsies, so I KNOW you struggle with all of this — without even asking, I know. But I also need you to know that I admire you sooo much. And I see your writing get better while I feel mine falling apart, and it scares me. I can’t figure out the WHY of some of my pieces, but your stuff? It always has that ooomph. That thing. That universal truth. I don’t know if I need to take more classes or what, but I want you to know that you are one of the superstars that I most admire. Thank you for being so generous. For taking my phone calls, and for sending me that contact info today. I REALLY needed a pick me up today.

  27. Don’t spank yourself. Write.

    Yes, I know it doesn’t seem that easy, but it comes down to a couple of points:

    1) Practice makes perfect (or at least tolerable)
    2) Hesitation kills – your career
    3) You have to be pushy to succeed at anything

    Let’s take my first sale. Quite frankly, the story was weak. There wasn’t anything wrong with the premise, I just didn’t have enough experience. I knew it, but I submitted it anyway. Luckily the editor saw something, and with some help, it got polished into something half decent.

    The second story I sold was better. Quite frankly it wouldn’t have been hard. This one took a lot less polishing. Quite frankly I was delighted, because I could see the difference.

    The third one I sold was killer. I’d take everything I’d learned from the earlier stories, everything I’d learned from non-fiction writing, everything I’d learned from the novels that are still unfinished, and tossed together something that they didn’t ask for one edit on. Not one.

    Anybody can learn how to write. Whether or not they learn how to write well depends upon whether or not they are so stupid that they keep on pushing, even after being told they aren’t any good. Whether they are so committed that they don’t mind banging their head against the wall. And whether they have friends who encourage them.

    We know you can do it. You got through University. It’s much the same thing, except you don’t have a teacher in front of you, and you have to do just a little but more yourself.

    You can do it.

    We know that.

    Oh, and don’t worry about perfection. I have a friend who has been working on the same novel for thirty years. Seriously. We keep telling him to just publish the damned thing, and start on something new, but he keeps on polishing, and polishing…


    1. Wayne: I’m so happy that you are finally starting to receive the success I always knew you deserved! As for me? I know I said this to you before, but I didn’t elaborate. (Kind of hard in a tweet.) I think I’m more of a non-fiction essayist. I can write short pieces, but it’s been especially difficult for me to write fiction. I can’t keep the lies straight. I can’t sustain the characters. I’m not sure why, but when I read about people who get “so into their characters’ worlds,” I’m always like…um, what? I can’t seem to remember if they’ve put their shoes on or what their wearing. I have to write in short spurts, and then I find myself reading and re-reading. I can’t get enough time to really write long stuff.


      I’m allowing that to be my reality right now.

      Because I have some stuff going on in my life that is interfering with my ability to do more than I am at the present time.


      I’m not packing up. I’m not closing up shop, but I’m not working on the manuscript any more. I’m just not. And I’m at peace with that. I can always come back to it later. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for believing in me. It means the world.

  28. Cuz. I look at you and am in awe. All you’ve done. Your spirit. Your zest for life. I wonder how the heck you bang out such great posts week after week, year after year when I can’t make myself sit down to write at all. You’re doing great. Just keep being you. That’s who all these folks love to come visit and read. You’re doing a ton right (write!). The book will come when it’s supposed to. You’ve written it twice. 🙂 You’ll know when its ready. Xxxxoooooooxxxxxcoooo

    1. Sweet cuz! Thank you for taking a moment to check in with me. Man, do I miss you. I wish I could give you a big ole hug right now because that is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for giving me permission to just exist for now. I really need that.
      xoxoxoxoxoxox Can I see you this summer?

  29. I’m a comparer too, Renee. I always have and maybe always will feel that other people are better, smarter, funnier, more creative…just more than me. And sometimes that’s true. But not all times. Probably not even a majority of the time. But it’s so hard for us to cut ourselves a darn break!

    I’ve been practicing that, though. And I think it really does take so much practice! We have to continually retrain our brains to see ourselves in a more positive light. I’m on to a new project right now, and I am feeling the serious pressure for it to be perfect. But that’s coming from no one but me. I have to force myself – force – to let myself BE myself. Not someone else who I think does it better. And not just the perfect, edited, revised, polished self I want to world to see. Frankly, I just don’t have time anymore to slick up that girl’s image like I want to.

    The thing is, no one expects me to do that slicking up, anyway. I’m imposing that on myself. Because I don’t think I’m good enough, funny enough, smart enough… It’s a vicious, exhausting cycle.

    Practice, practice, practice! Loving ourselves and not comparing ourselves to other people who we think do it better. Anyway, if we could see inside their heads, I bet we’d see a lot of ourselves in there.

    Sorry, I got long and off track I think. But clearly, your words resonate with a lot of people.

    1. Michelle! I’m so glad that you are starting a new project. My best advice? Keep it private. Keep it to yourself until it’s ready to be looked at. My biggest mistake was announcing to the world on this blog (which went to Facebook and Twitter) that I was writing a book. Because that’s all anyone asks me.

      “How’s the book coming?” and “How’s the book coming?”

      And I know people mean well, but man…does it feel terrible to have to admit — over and over — the book isn’t coming. The book is broken. I suck I can’t write the damn book. The book is dead.

      I am working on trying to kill off those voices in my head. I honestly am. It’s so hard to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. I’m learning. A post on that to follow. 😉

      Thank you for following me into the storm, and thank you for your words of encouragement. They mean everything. Please know.

      1. Too late! It’s a podcast and it’s up and running. But it’s forcing me to face all new challenges, and that’s good I think. But I completely, completely understand what you’re saying, and I’ve learned that kind of thing the hard way myself! But I think you lost your momentum when you lost your hard drive. So difficult to get back the enthusiasm when you’re faced with starting over and completely re-doing something you’ve already done. It’s not like repainting a wall – it’s your heart and soul you’re having to pull out of yourself all over again. AGAIN!! It is normal that getting back to that excited, energetic, creative place after such a disappointment and shock would take some time. Personally, I wonder if you are still grieving? You should give yourself enough time to mourn that loss. I thought it was just amazing and strong of you to even write about this!

        1. Michelle: Truly, I think you are spot on about losing my mojo when my computer crashed. It took a of the wind out of my sails. And I’m sure I’m still grieving. I lost so much stuff. There’s other stuff going on in the background. I’ve been feeling rejected/betrayed on a lot of levels. I’m trying to figure it all out. I’m like a bundle of raw nerve endings. And in the midst of all of this, I’ve had quite a few social obligations to fulfill. Not the easiest time in my life, that’s for sure. Thanks for “getting it,” Michelle.

    2. Val: Your words are always so powerful. Your pieces are political. They have a strong point if view. They’re political. By comparison, my stuff is wishy-washy. I appreciate your coming over to share encouraging words. I’d love to know how long you spend writing a typical post. Honestly. And believe me, I’d love to step into your big-girl shoes for a while. I imagine you always have the right words. It sure seems like it.

  30. You made that sound much better than the voices in my head were! I was thinking it was just time for me to stop pretending to be a writer, but maybe not just yet. I just started hanging around here, but find the honesty and beautiful writing that you share to be refreshing and cheerful (okay, and maybe a little envy inducing, maybe) 😉

    1. Hi Andrea! Thank you so much for bopping in to say hello. I think we all feel like frauds at one time or another. I appear to have these freak-outs about once every two years. Meanwhile, I’m pushing through. If nothing else, I am always honest. Even if it isn’t pretty or it doesn’t win me friends here in my town.

      Don’t you hate the voices? Why do they live in our heads? WHat positive purpose do they serve? Seriously?!

  31. Renee, sweetie, why are you tormenting yourself? You know I have the same problems, right? And I haven’t blogged for two or three weeks. Ask me if I care. lol. Yeah, I do and I don’t. Kinda. May I just tell you how freeing it has been to work with Marcy. Goodness gracious. She is like a breathe of fresh air. I love her! She just has a way of unclogging the drain and clearing the minutiae in your brain. Yes, it’s costing some money. Very minimal considering what other editors cost. But you know, hubby said it’s part of my education as a writer. And that’s how we’re looking at it. And I can sleep at night. And I’m not in eternal torment. She just gets it. She is worth every penny Renee. Personally, I think a short break is good. But don’t stay away too long or your creativity will get rusty. At least that’s what Mr. Bell says. And I also think that you’re frustrated because you have an important story to be told and you’re afraid to write it. You’re afraid it won’t be perfect. Hmm. I know the feeling. I’m right there with you Renee! What to do? Talk to Marcy. Please talk to Marcy. You will feel a huge weight off your shoulders girl. You know I say this because I care, don’t you? Good, because I do. {{Hugs!}} 🙂

    1. Karen:
      I am so glad that working with Marcy is helping to suss out your story. As for me, I’m feeling rather broken down, and I don’t have the energy to work on my book right now. I just don’t. I need permission to just say: “I’m not working on a book right now.” If/when I decide to pick it up again, I know it is a total gut. I need to rewrite from a totally different POV. I’m just not there right now.


      Right now, I’m going to enjoy the summer. I’m going to breathe and swim and play and write letters to my son. If it ever stops raining, I’m going to go horseback riding and go jogging. I plan to dance. And I’m going to work on building up material for the fall…


      …hopefully, my juices will start to flow again. Much gratitude for rushing to my rescue. You know I appreciate your support, yes?

  32. Dear, dear Renée – the best blogger I have the pleasure of knowing! I hear you … and from the comments above so do a lot of other writers. We all go through this torment from time to time and I know you know it will pass. You are making the most important choice of all right now and that is to do what pleases you. So do it and enjoy! That’s what counts. Everyone who loves you and your blog will still be here. Live free and prosper (in spirit, health and laughter)! <3

    1. Patricia! Thank you. That’s what I need: people telling me I’m not a bad person for “quitting.” I just need to be allowed to stop. It’s been hard because I stopped teaching to write a book that isn’t coming. I feel guilty for the time away for the classroom; I feel incompetent for not being able to meet my goal; I feel frustrated because I have helped so many people with their manuscripts but I can’t seem to get mine where it needs to be. right now, I’m going to try to enjoy myself — and refuel. Thanks for your gentle words.

  33. Renee, I’m sitting here thinking, “How can this woman think she’s not a great writer? I love her stuff!” But of course I know the answer to that because I go through those times too. You do sound burned out, gal, so by all means, step back and take a break and have some fun.

    But please don’t give up on writing completely. Because you are fab!! Love ya!!

    1. Kassandra: I’m not giving up. Not at all. I just needed to confess that I’m exhausted, that blogging has drained me, that I have been unable to write my book AND blog AND have a balanced home life. My perfection gene kicked in in each facet of my life — as a wife, mother, and writer — I what do I have to show for it? Nada. I know certain people SAY we need to blog regularly to build a platform, but I’m starting to think, for some of us — this is ass-backwards. I love my blog, but because I’m such a perfectionist, blogging has actually interfered with my writing life. Reading all the great posts and feeling obligated to tweet and share has made it difficult for me to be productive. And now I’m tired. So, it’s time to rejuvenate and end the paralysis. It’s time to get proactive about the voices and shut them up once and for all. At 46, it’s time to do what I want to do and stop worrying what other people think about me. {But it’s really hard.}

      1. You are definitely NOT the only one who has come to the conclusion that blogging can interfere with one’s writing life! I’ve actually been hearing that a lot lately. And feeling it too. I enjoy blogging but it is so time-consuming.

        And as a ‘recovering perfectionist’ I can totally relate. We’re not good at doing things halfway. I know it’s hard but you are on the right track. It’s time to do what works for you! God bless!! {{hugs}}

  34. I suspect, Renee, we all suffer from this at times. The thing to know, you are funny, you are thoughtful, you are talented. You are much loved in the community you have built. No one, not a single solitary person compares you to any other person, well no one but you. You do not suffer from that comparison, except in your own mind and this is only because you don’t see your spectacular entries with a clear heart and eye. The rest of us? We see your wonderful contributions, we appreciate them and look forward to them.

    Perhaps if you stepped into our shoes you would see more clearly? I have 100’s of pairs, want to borrow one or two pairs?

    1. Val: Your words are always so powerful. Your pieces are political. They have a strong point if view. They’re political. By comparison, my stuff is wishy-washy. I appreciate your coming over to share encouraging words. I’d love to know how long you spend writing a typical post. Honestly. And believe me, I’d love to step into your big-girl shoes for a while. I imagine you always have the right words. It sure seems like it.

      1. Honestly? It really depends, because my posts aren’t always political. So here is the breakdown –

        Flash Fiction – 15 minutes max
        Personal Stuff – 20 minutes to an hour
        Current Affairs – 2 hours usually with research
        Historical Political (series) 3 to 7 days with research, but the actual writing usually 2 – 3 hours

        I write pretty quickly, it is the research that takes a while. I like the historical stuff I do, it is interesting and often puts today in perspective.

        When I write about what is happening today, if it is personal well it just comes out. I usually only edit one time. I do not worry about perfection, I think people will accept it is our hearts that speak. If I find an error later, I will fix it then.

        Don’t beat yourself over the head. Write what is in your heart. Write what is in your head. Don’t punish yourself with something you love doing. Don’t make it a chore. Make it a joy.

  35. Renee, I applause you for your honesty and I have to tell you that I think we all do the comparisons. In fact I was scared sh!tless to press publish, but I closed my eyes and did it anyway. And then I “met” all these great bloggers and they are all at different places and published and bigger and bladder than lil ‘ole me.
    I love your blog so I hope you can fight the fight and write for you, as I’m sure you started writing for you in the first place.
    And if I’m being honest, I think you’re hilarious and hope my blog can be as cool as your blog one day!

    1. Tania! Boy oh boy. It sure us nice if you to offer those kind words. Honestly, I’m so grateful for all these cyber friends who have come to my rescue. I’m struggling. It’s true. But I’m sure I’ll shake it off. Eventually. Don’t leave me, okay? I swear I’ll get better at this. 🙂

  36. Sigh. Mama, I know. I’m the same way – watching others get picked up by different (read: national) blogs, when they’ve been blogging for like, 5 minutes and here I am, typing into the ether. As delighted as I am for my friends – and I am – I feel bad for me and then I feel worse, because why can’t I just be happy for them and not make it about me?

    I visit you every day, my friend. You’re one of a handful – five, actually – bloggers who are part of my DAILY routine of Facebook/blogs/news…see? I seek you out before I even know what the weather will be like. That’s love, my friend.

    Your moment will come, love. It will, because you are too good for anything else. You are strong and fragile and so beautifully honest, you make my throat ache. You simply put all that so many of us are feeling, into brave and proud words that we’d barely put together in our minds, let alone crafted into a post. You’re kind of a rock star, actually.

  37. When I started writing MakingthedaysCount I had all these ideas and then, well things changed. That was three years ago, and I am in my fourth year. My life is rather predictable so I need to be more creative with what I write. It’s difficult. There’s that odd thing that happens to writers (I consider myself one, too) and it is when you have time to write, you have no ideas and when you have no time you have plenty of ideas. and that is the way it is…. I have the postcards ready and they’ll be in the mail with a note tomorrow or the next day.

  38. At least you know your loved by your readers, renée. They comment a lot. They gift you with words of encouragement when you need a boost. Not only do they love what you write, they love you for you. There are many out in blogland trying to do what you do. Wanting just as much. Working just as hard. Feeling just as frustrated. The difference: They don’t just think they’re not good enough; they pretty much know by the reaction from NO ONE that it is the unfortunate truth. They publish each time with grand anticipation … this time will be different. They naively believe someone will read the mix of letters they’ve meticulously placed one in front of the other to create their labor of love called a blog post. Then, once again reality slaps them in the face. Once again, the audience is absent. Their wish for any comment, even a negative one … dies. For gawd sakes, they can’t even get someone to tell them they suck! Being ignored, that’s what hurts more than anything else. It hurts them from the top of the head to the tips of their wannabe writer fingers. Feel grateful you have what it takes to write what people want to read, even though your mind plays a little hide and seek with you from time to time. What once was lost now is found. Congratulations!

  39. I can relate to this on SO MANY LEVELS. Sometimes I wonder what came first, the perfectionism or the procrastination. Or if they just came at the same time. For what it’s worth, I’ve actually been thinking that you’ve been posting a lot! Ha.

    One of my Rabbis made a point to tell my class that if we were a perfectionist, we should try to stop being one. I struggle with this, in both my creative and domestic life. I also get paralyzed when trying to write a song. Because it has to be epic. It just does! And then I’ll listen to something by Beethoven and be filled with awe and despair. How crazy is it to compare myself to Beethoven!?? Hello!!!??

    Anyways, you’ll beat down that negative voice, and you’ll triumph. I know you will. And I’ll be happy to read whatever you write, whenever you write it.

  40. Oh, Renee, you’re not the only perfectionist. I think most of us are…to some extent. For me, my blog is where I go to warm up my fingers. There, I don’t feel the need to censor myself or worry that maybe what I wrote wasn’t so perfect or brilliant. I just speak.

    It’s when I get to my “real” writing that I can tense up and freeze. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that one of my critique partners laughed at me a little and said, “I think it’s kind of hilarious that you’re so self possessed in pretty much every aspect of your life, but get a bit nervous/insecure about your writing.” The comments on my blog can often serve as the encouragement I need to get moving again. It’s kind of my own version of positive reinforcement.

  41. Thought about this one for a long, long time because I come from a family of perfectionists. And I am married to one!! As to my family, I think one of the reasons that there are so many addictions in my family is the inability to see the world as good enough. My husband–EGAD! We are finally, if the Variance Board allows, renovating our house!! We hope to make it more like it already is–an old farmhouse built in the 1850s, nothing fancy although we are mentioned in the history of Pittsford’s barns. That’s how we learned how old the house was, that the kitchen was probably in the dug cellar when it was built, maybe even belonging to the farmer’s son when it was built–we surmised the latter because of the way things were done back then. Along the way there was a house fire–learned that when we re-sided and -roof the house. And as I’ve dug flower beds, and pulled out burdock and wild raspberry canes, I’ve discovered old trash piles–old medicine bottles, bits of plates, house parts, barbed wire, and wild or rambling rose bushes. Makes me imagine what the past dwellers might have been like…

    Being perfect is hard. I imagine each person who lived in our house before we did, trying to make it perfect for themselves–even if it meant dumping trash fifty feet from the house. We compost, trying to be better stewards of the land, and use it to amend the soil/soul. Pittsford tries to have the perfect town, telling people what kind of windows owners can put in their houses or expecting a specific set-back for homes.

    But…here we are in a house that we love because of its character and its imperfections. It is a modest house, overlooking “a dynamic yard”–two architects and builders have said so… So we have decided to stay and build on its modesty because it is perfect for us.

    Sometimes perfect just means human…

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