Before I post anything else, I have a confession of sorts to make. I almost feel like it should be an apology, but I am writing this post while trying to be secure in the knowledge that somewhere out there, some other creative web-faring person will identify with it ... so making it an apology would not quite be as reassuring. Therefore, while it is not long enough to fill several notebooks, like that of the great and fictional Henry Fool, here is my confession:
I am at war with myself.
There are several different fiefdoms in my brain, but the war is between two in particular: Completion and Perfectionism. They lie on either side of the Sea of Variable Focus, in the middle of which lies the island autonomous collective of Ridiculous Creativity. (And, yes: of course it is autonomous! Why would creativity have a government?)
If you are one of those people who can relate, you already see where I am going with this. In fact, if you are even more like me, you are probably pointing at your monitor, smart phone, tablet or watch (Hello, Futuristic Person reading my blog archives!) and yelling affirmations at it as if it can hear you. Or maybe you are a bit more sane than I am. Anyway. I digress.
If you have never been a Completion-ist and a Perfectionist simultaneously, let me first congratulate you on having avoided a circle of hell. Maybe you can finish things and accept that they do not have to be perfect: which is, as I understand it, the status quo. Or maybe you are okay with having a project in a constant state of revision or incompletion, so that it never sees the light of day - which is also fine, but seems to me a little bit selfish, vaguely tragic, and possibly a bit funny, too. But when you are both a Perfectionist and a Completion fanatic, you enter a strange sort of Cold War, and it tends to happen a bit like this:
"It's finished!" The Duchess of Completion cries, holding aloft the creative fruit of choice that washed ashore in bits and pieces from the Island. And as so often happens when a country does something cool, it wants bragging rights, so she shows it off.
Naturally, Princess Perfectionist takes a look and says "Ehhhh... you missed a spot."
"Dangit," says Completion, and goes back to work. Now, normally this is fine, but Perfectionist is that one person who's never happy with anything, and eventually the cycle repeats so often that Completion says: "You know what? If I send this out there, it's just going to get attacked. I resolve to sit here on my cushy little royal throne and not do a thing."
Meanwhile, Perfectionist is jumping up and down on the coastline yelling about how nothing is getting done, the poor people over on Ridiculous Creativity are building up a backlog, and some really great produce is starting to spoil.
So right now, I'm trying to hold a peace summit between the two while Hurricane Rest-Of-My-Life rages across the Sea of Variable Focus, and that little whimsical lesson in mental geography is why you have not seen much in the way of tangible progress on From the Desk of Buster Heywood.
If you happen to be one of those people who identifies with what I just wrote, please do yourself three favors:
1. Check out these sites! They have been helpful to me, and may be to you:
Writer's Relief: They have a great blog full of writing tips on all sorts of topics from how to self-edit to just simple encouragement.
Writers Helping Writers: Angela Ackerman and Rebecca Pugilisi are both lovely ladies, and their website is full of sound advice that I'm already putting to good use. Their Writers' Thesaurus trilogy isn't on my bookshelf yet, but it is certainly on my wish list.
CreativIndie: Derek Murphy has a lot of fantastic content for new writers, too ... and the greatest part is, some of it is absolutely free!
Warrior Writers: Kristen Lamb's blog is full of witty, funny, encouraging boosts to get you through when you need them.
2. Keep At It! Peace is possible, or so I've been told. The world needs your island exports just as much as you do.
3. Stop yelling "YES. THIS" at your screen, because it cannot hear you (unless you are Futuristic Person, and it can). Instead, leave me a comment here or email me, so that we can share war stories and feel a little less besieged together.
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