Ask a Wombat! 062

Table of Contents

Andrew asks. . .

I used to be very into creative writing but I had issues with being a perfectionist and because of that and other factors, I haven;t done it in a very long time. Do you have any tips on how to get back into creative writing and avoiding becoming a perfectionist?

DatWombat says. . .

Perfectionism is a double-edged sword isn’t it? It can be a driving force for exquisite craftsmanship, but it can also be your undoing. I think perfectionism exists on a spectrum — I don’t know about you, but it seems like pettiest of problems can derail my writing. I get stuck on commas, line spacing, repetition, color compositions and the shape of my paragraphs. I kind of have a problem, but I still manage to publish content! It’s important to understand that nothing you do will ever be “perfect” — or even “done”, just “good enough at that time”. If you wait a few days, you’ll probably find something to get pissed off about.

Don’t get stuck. Words aren’t set in stone — they’re more like clay, able to molded to suit your needs! Just keep writing until your finished. Then go back where you started, and start revising! If you let perfectionism take over, you’ll just burn out on the first few pages. Think of revisions as sculpting. You don’t start a sculpture by sculpting — you need to start with a block of clay! There’s something satisfying about reaching the end of your article, even if your sentences start a little haphazard.

Consider changing topics. I don’t typically write my reviews from start to finish; I work on sections as inspiration strikes, taking notes and jotting down the sentences I plan on using later. Once I have enough information, I combine my notes and carefully crafted sentences into one or more complete paragraphs. When I focus too hard on a single subject, I’ve found that perfectionism can make me miss important details on another.

Start small, especially if you’re rusty. Don’t dive into a book! Instead, consider writing prompts or writing an “original character”. When I need to rekindle my creative side, I reach for something simple (such as a match-three game). As much as I love to write about twenty or thirty-hour RPGs, these games require so much creative output I’ll surely burn-out if I’m not ready to protect my creative kindling from my perfectionism.

Just say “fuck it”. Sometimes, I just hit the “Publish” button and move on. Maybe my writing isn’t “perfect”, but I’ll damned if it isn’t “good enough”. You need to let go of your content; like joeys in a wombat’s pouch, you got to let them go some day. Any work is better than no work, and letting go may be what you need to feel free. Besides, it’s not like you’re being graded — you can always come back later. They’re still your joeys after all.

Well, that’s all I got for you. Happy writing!

Questions, requests or comments?