By Tina Pavlik
Wait a minute. Aren't I the owner of a review site? Why, yes. I am. =) Then what the heck am I doing talking about killing muses? Well, I'm glad you asked. That title really smacks of writing advice, doesn't it? Yeah, I'm a writer too. Who in our community hasn't at least thought about writing, right? Or writes in secret under a pen name or some such? A lot of us.
BUT my post today isn't just meant as writing advice. It's advice that saves me just about every single day and in many different areas of my life.
Let's talk about perfectionism. And why it's bad.
What do you think of when you see that word? Perfectionism? Think of that perfect hero in the book you just read (or wrote)? Think of that perfect classmate or coworker or neighbor who makes fun of you or talks down to you? Or do you think of the people on those magazine covers or on TV or in the movies who were naturally born for heights you'd never achieve/be good enough for, etc.?
When I think of the word perfectionism, it always leaves a negative taste in my mouth. Perfect, in my world just doesn't exist. It doesn't. And I don't even want to try to think that way. The only thing we'll leave alone is that perfect hero -- that's my romance fix. Besides, if the author did her job right, he's not that perfect. He's got an adorable flaw buried beneath those gorgeous eyes and eight pack abs, right? LOL
I think of something being perfect or trying to do something perfect or trying to make something perfect and I panic. About 99% of us do. If a thing is perfect, we have the potential to screw it up. If we try to do something perfectly, we'll make a mess of it. And trying to make something perfect right out of the box? Not even possible. I'll just slink off and go die in a ditch right now, thank you very much.
See what I mean? Why try for or want the unattainable? That's not realistic. It's like trying to make a lasagna for the first time and wondering why it's not as good as Emeril's. Hell, it's not as good as Chef Boyardee's! LOL
Perfectionism is scary and what does scary do to the creative impulse? Terrible things. If you're so worried about writing a story and making it perfect, you'll self edit yourself into oblivion. That's true of an endeavor you take on and expect perfection from, right?
Try NOT to be perfect. Try really hard. Why? Because if you don't expect yourself to be perfect, you'll actually get something done. You might sit down and write seven pages on a story or a two page memo for work. It might really suck but you will have accomplished two things. 1) You'll feel good about yourself because you accomplished something and 2) you'll have something to work with. It might not be perfect but as one of the supreme authors of the romance genre once pointed out, you can fix a bad page. You can't fix a blank one. =)
It works out in other ways too. Until recently, I was a terrible cook. Then I tried and decided I'd be the next coming of Emeril. The only thing I didn't do wrong was to burn the house down. LOL But, once I stopped expecting to cook like a culinary genius, I began to learn a lot. Yes, a lot was through trial and error but then I remembered that was how I became a computer programmer in the first place. I didn't take a college course and morph into a computer guru. I screwed up a lot of programs and killed a few computers on my way here and I'm still learning. But I learned through those mistakes. I don't really think I would have learned without them.
So if there is something you really want to do -- write a novel of your own, cook like a champ, write a memo that just might impress your boss enough to give you that promotion -- remember my own simple rule. TRY NOT TO BE PERFECT. What you produce at first may suck, but you don't. And you can fix it. =)
PS -- On a personal note, don't try to fix the plumbing. Want a sure fire way to get your man to do that for you? Find his toolbox and pull out the biggest wrench you can find. Inform him, in a friendly, non sarcastic, non threatening way, that you'll take care of it for him -- and make sure he sees the wrench clutched in your hand. It may take a few moments for him to visualize the flooding you're bound to cause and the repair bill that will result, but give him time. Even climb under the sink and give the pipes a couple of good taps if you're game and physically able. LOL This HAS worked for me. =)
I've got books to giveaway but you have to post for a chance to win them. =) I might throw in some author prizes too.
The Romance Studio ~ the romance genre today!