A little challenge for today

Here’s the thing: I think I have a kidney stone. I also think it’s making its way out of my body so I’m not in as much pain as I could be and the worst of it was definitely back on Tuesday/Wednesday. It’s Sunday now and I’ve lost oodles of writing time to this, even though I’ve actually written more than usual!

Uh, what?

Well, I’m in a particularly good place mentally for the writing I think and would have probably written a lot more if I hadn’t been hurting.

That’s what I think. I could be totally wrong. I do seem to perk up when I’m in pain. Weird, I know. So maybe the pain itself is causing me to be more focused (in pain, not sick—there is a definite difference—if I were sick, there would be no focus!).

Anyway, long story short, I really need to finish this book, so today I am going to try to stay focused on writing and write as much of this book as I can. My record word count for a day is 6,241 words. I don’t know that I can beat it, but I think it’s the right day to try.

I’m going to post my progress as the day goes on to try to keep myself focused on the writing and moving the book forward.

My biggest concern is that I’ll fall into a cycle of perfectionism, become too critical of what I’ve written / am writing and end up rewriting or redrafting stuff. That kind of thing will make it impossible for me to write more than a couple hundred words an hour, and that’s a fact. That kind of pace will not let me make the kind of progress I want to make today, so I’m saying it now: NO SECOND GUESSING MYSELF TODAY.

It’s time to let the words flow!

1st check-in: 674 words.

Things are going well enough. I had a longer break than I should have taken when I stopped for lunch so I’m just now getting back to the writing, but I did start at noon and have a lot of day left so it’s not the end of the dream by any means.

2nd check-in: 1,149 words.

A sudden surge in word count accounts for the change. Things are going well so far. Not in the direction I had thought but I’ll take it. :)

3rd check-in: 1,530 words.

The story is still going well. I’m going to have to be careful of my critical side because if I start wanting to turn back and go a different direction I’ll lose a lot of momentum (and words!).

4th check-in: 1,732 words.

5th check-in: 1,832 words.

I need a break for supper soon so I’m going to get a few more words then stop for a little while. I can’t say I’ll be back. I’d definitely like to continue but I don’t think I’m going reach my challenge word count. Miracles happen, sure, but I’m still suffering here with frequent bathroom visits (kidney stone, remember?) and some unpleasant back pain, and I’m really starting to itch for a long break.

Because it’s getting on into the evening, I’m not sure how I’ll cope with stopping and restarting. But that’s for a later worry. Right now, more words. I have twenty or so minutes before my oven timer goes off for some small red potatoes and zucchini I put in to roast. Good food to make me feel better. :)

6th (and final) check-in: 1,883 words.

It’s the next day that I’m writing this final check-in note, because I was right to suspect I wouldn’t make it back. I ended up going to bed early (for me) and sleeping off and on for 10 hours. I felt worse last night but better today so I’m going to try this little challenge again.

Looking back and I see a pattern

I was looking back at my most consistent year (based on variations between monthly word counts) and randomly reading some journal entries and blog posts that I did around that time and it seems all of them were about schedules (those that I picked at random, not all my entries). But I came across this one and it really brings back memories and seems like the perfect accompaniment to my current thinking: “Reasons matter: a rambling essay.”

I think it’s an interesting coincidence that scheduling my writing were the topics of those posts and entries, considering how I’m revisiting a schedule now. And the post linked above really does still apply. I could write the same things today and it would be just as true. Added to the things about a daily schedule that I wrote a couple of days ago, I see a path to success if I can just keep reminding myself that detours are okay as long as I always make my way back to the main path.

Perfectionism has no place in my life.

On that note, it’s past time to get started with the daily writing, so I’m going to leave this post here. :)

August changes

A few things have changed since my last writing post.

I’ve decided:

To ditch timers and timed writing for good.

It feels weird to sit down and write without the timer. I still look for it in the corner of my screen as I type. I still look for the column on my spreadsheet and feel a little startled when I realize it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I wrote those 187 words.

To erase my record of my timed writing and words per hour calculations.

I did make a backup of the original file with those numbers because I couldn’t not do that.

To stick to word count quotas.

To STICK to word count quotas, for real. I do need some type of structure to keep me working.

Structure is useful for me.

But going back and forth between time / word counts / WPH anxiety isn’t useful to me at all.

I can’t control my daily word counts as easily I can control my time spent writing but I never (seriously, never) seem to reach the time quotas I set for myself either.

Since word count quotas are so much more meaningful to my income, they win. :-)

The day after I made this decision, I wrote more words with less effort than I’ve written in a long time. I reached 671 words for the day and hardly felt like I’d done any writing at all. It felt great.

Then stuff happened, delays and distractions, and I didn’t write very much for the next two days. Now we’ve come to today, and the writing is again going easily and I hardly feel like I’ve done anything at all. I’m already up to 187 words for the day.

Those timers really did make writing feel too much like hard work. Getting that out of my system might take a while, but I’m sure it’s the right path forward for me. I need to like writing or I won’t do it, but lately, I just hadn’t liked it very much at all. That changed so quickly after making the decision to ditch the time keeping and WPH calculations that I really feel it was hindering my enjoyment of writing and interfering with my ability to keep going with this for the long-term.

The hours and WPH are just demoralizing anyway most of the time. Average words per day is the only number that really matters in the long run.

It’s just a renewed focus on actually getting the word counts and not wasting time worrying over anything else to do with productivity.

To stop trying to make my book perfect.

I know better than this. But I’ve fallen into some bad habits this year and my inner perfectionist is making life difficult again.

To keep using OneNote.

I have decided I’m just not leaving OneNote for certain types of notes until or unless I have to. I need software for note-taking or I never would have started using Evernote, way back when, even before I migrated to OneNote several years ago.

I did move the rest of my notebooks to OneDrive so I can keep using OneNote the way I like once my Office 365 subscription expires in September. And, it’s a little hard to admit, but my notebooks are actually a lot more useful since I moved them.

The local notebook issue was more a principle thing than a practical issue for me. I decided to bend on this one.

It’s time for me to get back to writing fiction now. I have a quota today and I’d like to see how close I end up to it. That 2,000 words a day plan is still something I’ve got in my sights.

Is it perfectionism stalling me out?

Yes, yes, it is. I’m still working through chapter 15 as of yesterday. It should have been simple to get through chapters 15 and 16 and on to new stuff, but that didn’t happen.

I was fixing a few lines that didn’t feel right for one character now that I’ve eliminated some of the excessive mental wrangling I had him doing because I couldn’t figure out where I was going with him, and I started writing some new stuff for him right there in the middle of the chapter. It was good stuff too so I went with it, but I did agonize over it a little too much because it had to fit in between other stuff, which is always a chore for me.

I’d like to stop going back in my books like this, because as you can see from the multiple days of slow writing but long hours, it isn’t that fun for me!

Today, I’m going to finish these two chapters even if I have to take a hands off approach and jump to the next damn chapter. That’s not the plan but if I find myself getting hung up on stuff just because it could sound better in my head if I wrote it another way, I’m doing it. That’s perfectionism trying to hold me back, and I can’t let it win.

Yesterday’s totals came to 3.65 hours of timed writing and 379 words after new stuff, deletions, and redrafts.

I was very inefficient yesterday, because if I were at a job where time at my desk counted, I would have logged a solid 9+ hours. I was tired when I finished (who wouldn’t be after spending 9 hours at their desk?) but I did start making progress toward going to sleep earlier. Not much, since it was still just about 1 am when I called it a night, but 1 am is better than 2 or 3 am!

Also, I’m just about to do something about the tags on this site. I just had an idea that might—possibly—be a way I can use them that actually makes sense for me. :D

Read another book and learned something about writing

I didn’t write anything yesterday, after a really late start to the day, reading half a book, then going off to do stuff that has to be done when you’re running a household. But reading that book yesterday and today—which I really enjoyed, by the way—taught me something I know but seem unable to learn.

When writing, you have to allow yourself to write what comes naturally.

I keep trying to find a way to explain this but it’s not coming to me easily, even though I know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s about phrases and sentences and letting the words come the way they want to come and avoiding the urge to go back and fix them, when the truth is, they don’t need to be fixed.

I’m not talking about letting myself write sub-par prose because it’s good enough. This is nothing like that. I’m talking about writing good prose. Strong prose. Stuff that upon reading it creates vivid images in my mind, but that when I write it feels like bad writing. It’s not bad writing. That’s what I saw in this book. So many of the phrases I’ve taken to rewriting worked great just as they were in that book. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Those phrases would have come—do come—naturally to me, but then I change them for reasons that I’ve only now realized are problematic at best. It’s me trying to force a style on the words, a style the words don’t need. I had started to feel like maybe this was what I was doing, but I wasn’t sure. But I can see it clearly now after reading something that reminded me a lot of my own natural writing style.

This—this thing I’ve just realized, maybe not for the first time, probably not for the last either—is the main reason why I can’t stop writing slowly: I can’t write what comes to me naturally and leave it alone.

It’s just another way perfectionism has slipped into my writing and slowed me down.

I spend too much time parsing every word I write and trying to control every phrasing, every sentence, every paragraph break. This makes writing hard, and is it any wonder I don’t want to do it when I’m fighting myself the entire time I’m trying to write a story? Writing isn’t fun when you can’t let go.

After a few days of reading, it’s so easy to see this problem in my writing. The sad thing is that I know to watch out for this kind of thing, this second-guessing of myself as I write, and yet I still haven’t learned not to do it.

But at least for today, for now, I feel a little more free than I did yesterday, and I’m hopeful today’s writing will come easier because of it.

Now, it’s 5:11 pm and I have 1,557 words to write, and I’m going to do it. I’m not looking back at what I didn’t accomplish yesterday, but moving forward toward what I can accomplish today.

One hour sessions, starting now. I’ll post updates below.


Updates

Session 1: 60 minutes, 367 words

I’m just going to say right off, and hope I’m not wrong, that the reason for the slow writing in this session was that I just didn’t (still don’t) know where this scene is going. I actually felt I was writing pretty fast for a while, and I wasn’t second-guessing myself, but then I kind of hit a wall and my brain wasn’t ready to tell me where to go next. I can hope I’m right about that, anyway. Also, I did straight up delete 115 words. Still, that only improves the numbers marginally. I’d have liked to have written about two times faster than I did.

Session 2: 77 minutes, 260 words

After that, I gave up for the night. This scene is just kicking my butt and I don’t even know why.

Word count: 644 (added a few more words after I stopped counting the time)

I’m frustrated, but I’m not really sure what else I can do to get past this other than practice and push on.

11:23 pm and too few words again today

I’ve managed only 2 of my 12 sessions today (20 minutes each). Part of the blame goes to my panic at realizing I had ruined the opening of my book by overworking it. I had to pull up backup copy 9 to get the old opening back. I’m currently at backup copy 20, and backup copy 9 was made on 6/11 (today is 6/24).

This all came to my attention last night when I sent my document to my Fire and read through what I’d written. My first thought was uh oh. So I pulled up the old version that I just happened to have sent to my Fire a while back and read the opening of it.

The old version was much better than the new. Miles better. Leagues better.

I was not happy to realize this.

I got up this morning knowing I’d have to fix it.  I’ve obsessed over things I didn’t need to obsess over today in an effort to avoid thinking about this.

I did a “compare documents” in Word to see just how bad it was. It was bad. More red than black, and ouch, I didn’t really need to see that.

It’s 11:59 pm and I should really go to bed, but I think I’m going to try to do a few more sessions so I don’t have this hanging over my head tomorrow. Then again… it’s late and I just want to put this day behind me, so maybe I won’t.

As for tomorrow, I think I’m going to forbid the internet until I’ve done at least half my minimum sessions. That’s only 6 and at 20 minutes each, comes to only 2 hours. I can surely hold out that long!

Now, time to get out of my own way and write this damn book without agonizing over every word. :D

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 (20 min): -25 words (meaning I deleted more than I wrote)
Session 2 (20 min): 8 words

I am not going to finish those paperbacks today

Dang it. I’m not going to finish those paperbacks today. I got caught up with tweaking the look of the interior and spent too much time on the cover of one of them today (perfectionism is a trap), and here it is just about bedtime for me (oh, my tired eyes!) and I’ve submitted the files for only one paperback today.

So 2 down and 5 to go. Except I’ve realized that I still need to correct a book I found an error in a few weeks ago, so that means 6 to go. But that one doesn’t need a cover, just a few changes to the interior.

I’m very close to finishing a second tonight, and I think I’ll try to get it submitted before I call it a night. The other paperbacks are just going to have to wait. I want to do some writing tomorrow before I come back to them, maybe in the later afternoon. We’ll see.

I definitely want to wrap these up ASAP, because they’re one of the few things left that I need to do sooner rather than later, and when I’m done with them, I can truly focus for a while on just writing my books.

Too much second guessing (challenge update)

It’s obvious to me that one big problem for me when it comes to speed is the speed at which I second guess my choices.

Today’s attempt to cross that 6,000 word barrier has been hampered at every turn by my tendency to write something, then write something else, then delete something, then delete something else, then rewrite the first something I wrote, before deleting it and starting the whole process over again.

That’s not the way to gather speed and momentum.

It’s 7:53 pm and I’ve let myself turn on WiFi on my computer so I can write this update. I knew it would be much faster than trying to do it on my phone and even though I have only written 1,225 words today, I’m still hopeful of more.

However, 6,000 words is probably shooting for the moon when I have no rocket.

For today.

For tomorrow, well, tomorrow hasn’t started yet. We’ll have to see about that.

For now, I’m signing off. I have more words to write, even if meeting the 6,000 word challenge is beyond me tonight. I’ll start this thing again in the morning and see how it goes.

First priority? Stop second guessing everything I put on the page.

Uh oh! (challenge update)

Here is my first challenge update.

I’m way behind already.

After 1 hour and 49 minutes, I’m only up by 149 words.

Getting through the last of the material I wrote a few weeks ago is taking too long. Perfectionism? Probably. I’m going to try to get through the rest of it faster.

As of right now I still have the computer WIFI off. I’m writing this on my phone. It’s easier to do all new posts on my phone than edit a really long one so I expect all updates to this challenge will be separate posts today.

Be back later. :)

Hopefully with better numbers!

Update to my previous post

Today, instead of writing, I went ahead and reformatted a couple of books that have new covers, because those paperbacks need to be updated to match. I wasn’t going to do this yet, but as soon as I said I wasn’t going to do it, the idea was in my head and I couldn’t resist.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take long—my new style sets are really consistent, for a change—until I started tweaking stuff. Then of course it took a lot longer. I formatted 2 paperbacks in about 4 to 5 hours. But even with all the tweaking, that’s nothing like the time I used to spend creating my paperbacks.

Since I’ve been working on so many paperbacks at once this time, it was really easy to get my style sets consistent. And since I had recently reformatted my master files for these two books, I had the books set up just right to work with my fresh new paperback style sets. I changed my style set, adjusted my title pages for a consistent look within each series, and printed to PDF.

Still, I was dealing with some perfectionism and a lot of little gotchas. I swear I had to print to PDF about 10 times each for each book before I was done because of little things I forgot to check or fix beforehand.

Anyway, I’m done now with the paperbacks until I have time to work on those covers and I’m going to write, even if only for half an hour or so.

I’ll say goodnight now, and plan to post my progress tomorrow. I have books that really must be written, and dammit, I really want to write them. Time to start doing that!

Turns out I was not ready for writing today after all

I spent part of the day renaming files and changing my mind repeatedly about a couple of my file naming conventions.

I couldn’t decide if I was happy with the lower case and hyphens for my image names or not. In the end, I went with not, and renamed all my image files with the same case I’m using for the rest. I actually did this a couple of times—back and forth.

I also couldn’t decide if I wanted to name my old files “old1” “old2” or “ver1” “ver2” and then I couldn’t decide if I liked using “Cover” in my cover image file names. I decided not.

Basically, just a bunch of second guessing of stuff that doesn’t matter at all.

I have a sneaking suspicion that perfectionism has found a way to slip in and I’m going to have to do something about it.

During the process of navigating through every folder in my writing directory, I came across some fiction I wrote back in 1994–1996.

Oh my. I wasn’t sure if I’d improved that much as a writer, but this particular book proved it. If I could go back in time and tell myself anything to help speed up my development, I’d tell 19–21 year old me to use more contractions. :o

Also, it’s literally one of the first times I’ve read something I’ve written and can’t remember even a teeny tiny bit having written it. I mean, nothing is coming back to me about this, except for the odd fact that apparently I named my kid after two of my characters from this book—the hero and the heroine’s dead brother. Poor kid. :o

My chapters were ridiculously short. But I can see that I was learning. The writing gets a little better as the chapters go along. Little being a relative term in this context, for sure. ;)

Here’s a screenshot of a bit of one of the stories.

I thought those old versions of that particular book had been lost, but apparently I’ve been bringing them along with me in my writing folder with every migration to a new computer.

They’re buried deep, but they’re there.

After that bit of nostalgia, I found myself sorting and deleting email and trying to come up with a better system for handling my archives. I spent a lot of time on that and all I really decided was that there wasn’t a better system. I deleted some junk, saved a few files and deleted some non-junk, and got the number of emails in my email archive below 5,000. :) That’s over multiple accounts, with my primary account making up about half that with 2,273 emails according to Thunderbird.

(I have many email addresses and I refuse to consolidate them all. I’ve tried that and I didn’t like it one bit. I need to compartmentalize to be comfortable.)

I also started reading a new book today.

The thing is, I knew as it was happening that what I was doing was a mistake. I just couldn’t stop myself. Frankly, it felt a little compulsive.

On the other hand, I feel like maybe I’m done now. I hope so. I really don’t want to rename any more files. It’s making me crazy.

Tomorrow, I won’t let this happen. But today? There’s no way to deny it. I failed to be a writer today.

Recognizing perfectionism

I had a realization yesterday morning and it’s led me to some serious soul-searching. My 12-month 1,180,000 word challenge is quite possibly—probably, in fact—a manifestation of perfectionism.

I’ve been upfront with the fact that I suffer from repeated bouts of perfectionism, and I don’t always realize when I’ve let it creep back into my life.

But yesterday, I started to realize that the only reason this plan even exists is because I spend a lot of time imagining the awesome way I’ll feel if I write all those books right now, if I can find the perfect system so I can write a perfect number of words every day, all so I can design a perfect release schedule for the many series I have going.

I do not need to write that many books in 12 months.

Not only that, but this goal is so far from realistic for me that I’m not sure it’s even part of my universe.

To reach this goal, I’ll have to write 5 times my current average daily word count. FIVE TIMES.

Every single day.

But perfectionism keeps me re-figuring my calculations at every turn, trying to find a way to do the impossible, because it fits some ideal I’ve come to worship. As if I’m just not doing enough, as if I’m a loser if I can’t write all the books in all the series, and write them damn quick, too. Because I should be able to do it, because it’s so reasonable if I just consider the numbers.

Bullshit.

This all started because I do want to write a lot of books in the series I have going, and the unfortunate truth is that at my current speeds it’ll take me 3.5 years to write them. But I also want to write other things, and I definitely don’t want to wait 3.5 years to start writing those things.

But realism never has been one of my strengths, and neither has delaying gratification.

That was the crack that let perfectionism sneak in. What if I could write this many words? What if I could follow this schedule? What if I could double, triple, no, quadruple my word counts? What if, what if, what if.

I’ve set myself up for failure, trying to reach for some ideal. And I’m failing under the pressure. I’m losing my enjoyment of writing.

I’m going to fix this, now that I’ve recognized what’s going on

I’ve stopped the schedule experiment.

I’m ending the push for 1,180,000 words in 12 months. I studied the list of books I want to write and decided I need to focus on only a few series instead of trying to do everything.

It’s impossible. I can’t do everything, not in the time frame I want.

I love all the series I write, I really do, so I picked based on reader interest and money. I settled on 3 series, plus the pen name series. I picked the pen name series not because of reader interest and money but because of potential for those things. Also, if I give up that series, the pen name is dead, and I don’t want that. Not yet. I want to finish that experiment.

That’s not to say I’m not still setting the bar high. I want to release a book every month for my main name, and a book every 3 months for my pen name. For me, that comes to 2,192 words a day.

To be clear, at least to myself, it’s not a daily quota. It’s a goal.

2,000 one day and 2,400 the next will work fine. :)

It’s possible I’m fooling myself, still. 2,192 is still almost 3.5 times my current average daily word count. I’ll have to take that chance. I need to step up to another level in my earnings, and I can’t do that being satisfied with the number of words I’m currently writing each day.

I debated this goal, wondering why this feels necessary, wondering if I was just replacing one unrealistic goal with another, less obviously unrealistic goal, but decided in the end that I have good and valid reasons for not eschewing goals altogether. I can’t expect to get off the income plateau I’m on if I just keep releasing books at my current pace. Growth and improvement are important and having a big goal doesn’t have to mean I’m succumbing to perfectionism. This plan is a stretch, no doubt, but it isn’t grandiose in the same way as my plan to write 1,180,000 words a year.

One reason for that is because I’ll only be focusing on 4 series going forward. The consequences for failure are mild compared to the consequences I’m already facing because I haven’t been able to reach this other, huge, goal.

Even if I only increase my pace to 1,000 words a day, I’ll still be putting out 2 books a year in each series. That’s considerably better than the current schedule for one of those series, which hasn’t seen a new release in 18 months. And let’s not forget that it took me 11 months to put out the second book in the pen name series. I’ve spent too much time writing other stuff, in no particular order, just trying to stay on top of all the series. I can’t keep up.

So going forward, I’ll be writing a book for each series, in the same order every time, and I’ll stick to one book until it’s done before I move to the next.

Could be this is a mistake. But if I reach my 2,192 words for a day, I can write on anything I want, including those series I didn’t choose to make part of my plan. It’s a reward for staying on track.

And if I do stay on track long-term, I’m considering throwing in one of those side projects every three or four cycles through the main series. I’ll consider that a reward to strive for, too.

In the end, it was important for me to recognize that I’d let perfectionism into my planning. I don’t think it’s done my career any favors and it had to go if I want to move forward. It feels weird to give up on this challenge, but sometimes you have to give up on the things that aren’t working to make real progress.

Follow up for several ongoing experiments

I’ve stuck to the new food rules and avoided sweets entirely, with the exception of a teaspoon of honey each day (in some yogurt and orange spice tea). Weight is going down, if I can trust the scale after only two days.

The schedule is working well. Sort of. I worked all day yesterday during my work time and during some make up time for the day before. HOWEVER, almost none of that time was writing. What time I did spend writing was spent editing a few bits of the story that weren’t going right and all I did was lose words.

Today I need to prioritize writing over other work.

I did come to a decision on one of my series book cover redesigns. I’ve been unable to make a commitment to a style for the typography—every time I do, I second guess myself. This has taught me one thing: writing isn’t the only place where I let perfectionism hold me back. So yesterday, after an entire day of trying changes that just didn’t work, I decided to stick with what I have and move forward with it.

Because of that decision, I now have two covers complete, one almost complete, and a draft version of two more. I’m going to load the covers as soon as possible, to stop myself from more of this waffling.

Until the covers and files are done and loaded everywhere, I’m making this my focus for the “after writing” time I’m hoping to have soon.

Anyway, I started writing this post with a 15 minute timer running and I’m down to less than two minutes. Time to get writing some fiction. :)

The insidiousness of perfectionism

For days my thoughts have been centered on figuring out what categories and tags to create to best organize the posts on this blog. Without admitting it to myself until now, I have very much been looking for the perfect categories and tags, so I can have a perfectly organized blog.

Perfectionism is insidious.

It’s hard to recognize perfectionism for what it is sometimes. I see it now though.

I’ll leave my categories as they are, and I’ll stick with the tags I have now.

I’ll keep the number of general tags I have low. If that means renaming a tag in the future so that more posts fit into it, I’ll do that.

I’ll still allow myself to create specific tags for challenges and things like that to make finding related posts easier. I might cull them every year or so, just to eliminate excess over time; then again, I might not.

Perfectionism is hard to get over. The important thing for me to do is to recognize it when it strikes so I can take measures to mitigate the damage. :)

There is no good version of perfectionism

I’ve decided: there is no good version of perfectionism. I used to think differently. I used to believe that some level of perfectionism was okay, or good even. I don’t think that way anymore. Perfectionism is an “ism” because it’s a problem.

Perfectionism isn’t about doing your best. It’s about the fantasy of being perfect. Doing your best is exactly what it sounds like: doing your best. That’s not perfectionism. Conflating the two is dangerous, because you can never win; you’ll never reach perfection even if you do your best every single time.

From there, it’s only a short step to never being good enough. Doing your best won’t matter, because you’ll still feel like you failed.

Perfectionism isn’t about striving to be better, it’s about striving to be perfect. I can easily imagine someone objecting to my rejection of perfectionism with the excuse that it’s okay to try to be better, but that’s the thing. Striving to be better, striving to improve is about improving, not about perfection. Taking it to the place where you need to be perfect isn’t going to do you any favors for the very reason I talked about above: if perfect is your goal, you’ll never get there.

That’s why I no longer believe there’s any good version of perfectionism. None. Perfectionism is a problem that I need to get out of my life in every possible way I can.

Perfection will hold you back. It definitely holds me back. It slows me down when I write and it steals the fun from writing. It often keeps me from enjoying what I do.

There is no good version of perfectionism.