I used to abide by perfectionism as if it were a law. Now I’m realizing it can be a hindrance to my creativity.
Going into college, I’ve abided by perfectionism as a law that maintained I should NOT stray from proper punctuation, grammar, and so forth. As an English major, I must always abide by rules such as stating a thesis, developing my main points, and concluding with a re-summarization of my thesis. That being said, I tried to apply perfectionism to my creativity. I chose English Literature & Writing as my major in order to develop my creative skills as a novelist. I took courses in fiction, poetry, and memoirs and have developed an incredible vocabulary, diction, and rhythm because of my perfectionism and discipline to make the best out of my creative projects. (Special thanks to all my English professors and classmates who helped me with projects.)
But here’s the catch: I took forever on my creative projects. I whittled down phrases till they were mush, beat sentences till they hurt to read (not always—some were good), and strove to maintain a beautiful rhythm while biting myself for things I shouldn’t have done or didn’t need to do.
In my case, perfectionism was a hindrance to my getting things done in a timely manner. I know English majors take the longest on their projects because we’re the kind that constantly writes—anyone agree with me?—but I also see that in my daily career, when I step from the platform of graduation and enter the world of jobs and novelists, I will need to snap myself into action. Get rid of the little reminders that tell me, “Do this,” or, “Don’t do that!”
Sometimes, my greatest moments in writing were my firsts drafts, unadulterated and unedited. Those were the ones that mastered my heart, and I can see that sometimes a little editing goes a long way, but beating it into the brush isn’t going to help. My biggest fear is that my writing won’t be perfect, but when I’m through with it, and I see that my readers love it, I will know that no matter what little edits I do, my creative work is going to be great.