Selected Works

Craft essays, short works
Craft essay in October 2015 Brevity
Memoir
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Musing

Letting Go of Perfection

July 16, 2012

Tags: Writing, Perfectionism, Writer's Block

This is what I've come to believe about "writer's block." It's nothing more than garden variety perfectionism. At least that's my experience. Fear of not being perfect, of saying, doing, being something less than good (it must be great!) has kept more writers silenced and shut away than anything. I found this advice especially helpful to look at when I'm feeling stuck on beginning a new piece. (From a book being written by Verlyn Klinkenborg called "Several Short Sentences on Writing"):
How do you begin to write?
Look for a sentence that interests you.
A sentence that might begin the piece.
Many sentences will try out.
One gets the part.
I love the playfulness here. By thinking of that first sentence as an audition, it takes the pressure off it having to be perfect right out of the box. And that gives me an opening to keep writing to the next sentence... and the next...