In writing and in life I cope with what I call “avoidance perfectionism.” The basic concept is that I’m a perfectionist but not the kind that manages to produce. I avoid trying new things until I know I will do them perfectly the first time. This doesn’t work out well in many, many areas. In writing it sets me up for spectacular levels of fail. If I just “think” about a project it can remain perfect in my head. But if I start actually working on said project it will immediately become less than perfect.
Of course the main problem is that you can’t do anything perfectly the first time, especially writing. You have to embrace the suck of a first draft. My avoidance perfectionism gets even worse when I’m trying a new style or genre. I completely freak out. The problem is made worse by the fact that I like new things and I get bored easily…I know, I’m a mass of contradictions. Let’s just say I like the idea of trying a new style or genre more than I like the work of actually doing it.
But trying new things helps us grow! And it helps us get better at the old things! I know both of these statements to be true, which is why I do, eventually, force my way through the paralyzing fear before the start (and in the middle, and at the end) of a new project.
I wish the rest of this post was really super helpful and practical tips for letting go of the fear and trying new things or ways to turn off the internal editor. I feel extremely under-qualified to give such advice because right now my internal editor is pitching a full on hissy fit. I’m at a total loss on how to shut her up and how to let go of that little voice that says “you’re not good enough, everything you’re working on sucks.”
So what are your tips for getting past that voice? What do you do if it rears its ugly head in the middle of a project and you can’t figure out which way to proceed?