Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On Perfectionism

We began our first writing class of the term by talking about perfectionism. Anne Lamott wrote in "Bird by Bird" that "perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness." We were asked to do a seven-minute fast write on perfectionism and how it did or did not affect us as writers. Here's mine:

Would I call myself a perfectionist? Just look at my messy handwriting. My cluttered desk. My dish-filled sink. My three pairs of shoes laying about the living room. I'm not neat; I don't think everything has its place.

But then look at my writing--not the awkward loops and uncrossed t's but the words themselves. I try to make those as perfect as possible. Best words to convey the best ideas.

I'm a slow and deliberate writer, finishing 1500 words on the best days and 600 words on most. It might be a problem if I didn't make progress. If those 1000 words and 800 words and 1500 words didn't add up to one-hundred and fifty pages of carefully chosen words.

Could I write faster? Could I let go of my inner critic and get more words on the page? Maybe, but I don't know if that would be a good thing.

1 comment:

george rede said...

Love this dual glimpse into your writing mindset and of the handwriting itself.