We are nearing New Year’s and I think I speak for everyone when I say hindsight will be 2020 (sorry, couldn’t resist). But it’s true. We’ve gone through a lot this year—some, more than others. But like every year around this time, I find myself reflecting on what I learned.
Now, granted, this year was especially difficult to focus on the things I’ve learned about myself. Even now, I struggle to think of what made the most impact on me. If I’m going to be honest with myself, it’s the same thing nearly year after year—perfectionism.
Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that I am a perfectionist in anything I do and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it at least once or twice here. Whether it be my day job, extra hobbies, and yes, especially writing; I’m always giving my all. I always find my writing to be the metaphorical love of my life (aside from my husband of course) and also my Achilles heel. The writing part is easy for me…the beta reading/edits, not so much.
Like most people, I hate being told that something doesn’t work well in my work. I know that’s why they’re called drafts. But it’s hard for me to divorce myself from my perfectionist ways, so much that I intentionally find other things to do other than going over beta reader comments. It’s nothing against them. Subconsciously I know they’re all trying to help me improve my craft. (And if any of them are reading this post, thanks for putting up with me 😉). But deep down, it kills me that I keep making mistakes, and sometimes I keep making the same ones over and over again.
If 2020 has taught me anything it’s that I need to slow down. With events canceled and book sales plummeting, I had no choice but to take a breather and get back to my core roots—writing for the love of it. Yes, my quota for publishing a book a year might be a bit off right now, but so is almost every writer out there. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. It just means I need to really evaluate my life as a writer. Why do I put off editing? Why can’t I tolerate looking at my mistakes? Why do I get so angry with myself?
I’ll give you a clue—perfectionism. It’s awful. It slows me down and, in some cases, debilitates me. And I guess it began when I first started writing. I never let anyone look at my work when I was younger (pre-publishing years). Want to know why? I didn’t have a lot of support. Yes, my parents were 100% supportive and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. But, they were all I had. I didn’t know any other writers at 15 and some people even thought that what I wrote was bizarre and not worth anyone’s time (joke’s on them, right? 😉).
So, I guess what my rambling is trying to get at is, I’m always trying to fight my past demons. Some days are a TON better than others. This new years’ resolution for me is this. I’m going to work harder at conquering my perfectionism and aid future/new authors in their writing endeavors. No one should ever feel like what they’re passionate about is worthless! 😊