So this is my first time writing a blog in a very, very long time. I’ve had a couple of different blogs over my lifetime, but I really like the title of this one, so I’m hoping to keep at it for a while.
I hope you’re having a lovely day.
I’m trying hard to find motivation to do things.
I’ve been reading some blogs and watching some videos on how to get better at stuff. I suppose that’s relatively productive, in a procrastinate-y sort of way.
But I’ve really been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve always been struck with this… need to be perfect. It’s been getting progressively worse and worse as time goes on, fearing the way people will look at things I’ve made, or even the way *I* will look at things I’ve made, and it’s all horribly depressing.
Today, though, I came across a series of people who have helped me out a little bit. Today, I feel like I’ve been armed, like I’ve put on some sort of heavy plate armor that might help me shield myself from the outside, or maybe from the inside, or both. (Hopefully both)
My worst critics are on the inside, you know. The very worst critics. All of them. They’re all rude and horrible and very, very critical of my work, and it’s just an all around gross place in there with my critics. They’re not very clean people. Voices? Thoughts? Whatever they are. They’re not very clean. Or nice.
Anyway, so I was reading through some things and was just struck by this phrase: “Done, not perfect.”
I found myself going: “Wow. That’s just… so succinct. Why didn’t I ever think about it that way before?”
I’ve been trying to write and trying to make art because I love consuming art and I love stories but I’ve always had so much trouble with them. I’ve always had this inner need to be perfect at a thing from the very beginning. It’s horrifying how many things I’ve let go of because I wasn’t good at them at the very beginning, and how I’ve let my life just kind of spiral away from art because of a fear of what other people might think of it.
People do not control my thoughts, but somehow I’ve been letting them and the thought of them control everything about me and how I live my life.
I’ve realized this a few times in my life, but I’ve never really known what to do about it. This perfectionism, this need to have people love what I’m doing from the very beginning, this need to be “The Best” whatever that is, has held me back from so many things. It’s exhausting, and it’s caused me so much undue anxiety, and I don’t really know how to fix it.
It caused a lot of troubles during my time in grad school, and it’s going to continue to cause me troubles, probably for the rest of my life.
But, you know what? I’m going to work to get there. I’m going to try to do at least one thing every day that makes me uncomfortable, that leads me toward the goals that I have. I want to put out a book. I want to be an illustrator. I want to do a lot of things that I’ve been letting just go because I want it to be perfect the first time.
Perfect doesn’t exist.
I used to turn in essays without having re-read them because re-reading them scared me. I didn’t go back over tests or stories or papers or anything like that during my elementary through undergrad education because it legitimately scared me so much that I would get sick thinking about having to “revise” something. I didn’t want to look at my own words. I wanted to get them out on paper and get them away from me.
That realization right there is horribly difficult for me to believe. And then I had a semester with Laura Ruby in grad school that changed how I thought about that. It’s not wholly changed, and I still hate reading things I’ve written most of the time, but it’s not so scary anymore.
Things need to get done, but they don’t have to be perfect. Because perfect doesn’t exist.
Right now, I have one completed draft of a book. It’s not finished, I have so much more work to do with it.
It’s done, not perfect.
That moment, when I wrote THE END on the final page, felt like my heart, which had been in my stomach the whole time, turned into a butterfly. It was a weird, indescribable feeling, the first time I’d FINISHED something I’d written.
And then I cried. Of course. Because I’m a crier.
But it felt so wonderful. And it’s been a struggle ever since.
Done, not perfect. I think I’m going to adopt it as my new mantra.
Things happen when you try not to be perfect with them. I want to stretch myself every day to do things. And I want you to be there with me.
That’s why I’ve started this blog. I don’t have an advisor right now to help me with doing this, but I have a due date for a new revision of this book that I’m working on and about forty new ideas that I want to work on, and I want to do more art and to get better at things, so I’m going to need some help and something to keep me accountable, so I’m going to try to be more present on social media (mostly here and Instagram).
So. All of that to say, I hope that you enjoy whatever comes out here. I’m hoping to keep it interesting (if you have any content suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below).
It’s not the new year, but it’s like a New Year’s resolution. It’s the beginning of the rest of my career, so I suppose that’s a good enough time as any start, eh?
I hope you continue having a lovely day. Feel free to stop by here and give me a poke now and then.
cheers <3 S