The one about perfectionism

It’s writer’s block. That’s what I kept telling myself. That’s why I wasn’t publishing anything on the blog. That blank page on the screen; the cursor blinking at me, taunting me. Words filled my head but when it came time to put them down there was nothing. Well, not nothing. But I hated the something that did come out. I ripped apart what small bits I did write with a savagery that was a little startling. So that’s what it was. Writer’s block. Simple as that.

Except not really. It’s not writer’s block that has kept me silent for months now. If that were true my journals would be empty too. They aren’t. They’re full of thoughts scribbled so fast that sometimes I can barely read what’s written. The ideas are pouring out of me. I’ve gone through one whole journal and almost finished another since I last posted anything on here. So, what’s the problem? There are hundreds of posts living in my journals. What’s to stop me from cleaning one of them up and hitting publish?

Perfectionism.

Paralyzing perfectionism.

If you aren’t a perfectionist this could seem confusing. How can perfectionism paralyze you? To put it simply? I’m not perfect. Everything I do is imperfect. This is natural and normal. I’m a human being after all, and perfection is not in my makeup. But that voice. Oh, that voice in my head. The one that thinks if I just worked hard enough I could eventually achieve perfection. That voice speaks and I am paralyzed.

This post stinks it says as I hit backspace over and over again for over 3 pages until nothing is left. You’re a terrible writer. Why do you even try? Other people have already said what you are trying to say and they have said it way better than you. So until you write better than (insert a writer I greatly admire here) it’s not even worth putting your thoughts out there.

And even if you had something worthwhile to say the voice continues. Your website is a joke. There’s no way you can start posting again until you switch providers and pretty up your website. Nobody will take you seriously while you’re posting on a design that looks like a 15 year old thought it up during their first web design class. When that’s done then you can post again.

What is so insidious about that voice is that it tells me all the reasons I can’t write. So I listen and stop writing. Then, the voice berates me for not writing. You’re never going to get what you want if you don’t write. Why are you wasting time doing anything else but writing? You think you can do this as your permanent job? You’re a joke. So I sit down to write and I’m back where I started. A vicious cycle that keeps going and going. What will finally break it?

This.

This will break it.

Write something and publish it Janelle. Write something tomorrow and publish that. And so on and so on. Each time I do it the voice will get a little quieter. The feeling will come back to my fingers, my mind, my heart. I won’t be paralyzed anymore. The sooner I confront and accept my imperfections the sooner I won’t care about sharing them with the world. If I wait until me or my words or my blog design are perfect to share my soul I’ll live in silence forever.

And anyway who wants to read perfection? Perfection in writing is Pollyanna (from the book of the same name). Always playing the “glad game” and never getting upset about anything and always reminding people to look on the bright side and oh my gosh someone shut that chick up before I throw her across the room.

Imperfection is Anne (of Green Gables of course). Wanting to see the good in people, finding kindred spirits, loving nature with all of her soul. But, she’s also a little vain, has a tendency to daydream a little too much, and a temper that sees nothing wrong with cracking a slate over the head of a boy who’s offended her.

Imperfection is interesting. More importantly imperfection is honest. It breaks down walls. When I admit my imperfections I implicitly make it safe for you to admit yours. When people are honest with each other that builds community. And that is why I write on this blog; to create an authentic community. To create real fellowship. I don’t want something shallow. I want the real thing.

So here it is. My post. It’s imperfect that’s for sure. But I am determined to take control back from that voice in my head. I’m writing again. I’m publishing again. I will not be silenced by others, or by myself. Here I am. I’m back. Nice to see you again. Let’s be imperfect together.

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