I’m a bit of a perfectionist, in case you haven’t figured that out. Part of this year is to learn not to be so beholden to the ideal and just be happy with whomever I am at any given moment.
Today is a great example of when my perfectionist self is challenged immensely, being put up against an extremely dry inspiration well. I had set the entire day aside for working on writing related activities. I sat down and began to explore a few short story submissions I’m trying to do and decided to write something from scratch.
Crap. Crappy craptastic crap. That is about all I had in me today. Normally in these moments I would throw up my hands, close the laptop and go stare into the fridge, hoping that a bar of chocolate has magically appeared to help drown my frustrations. I would eventually pull my computer out of the office and onto the couch, turning on Netflix for some background noise. The next ten minutes would be spent scrolling through the new movies, maybe the new TV shows as well, before finally ending up on my current fav, Ally McBeal. I would start an episode and put my computer on my lap, but would soon realize that I had stopped working and was completely invested in the latest drama at Cage and Fish. After laying the computer on the table in the hopes I’d go back to work, I’d watch about 3 hours more before realizing I had wasted 3 hours and I should probably make some food. I would then complain to my husband that I didn’t get anything done that day.
Determined not to fall into my normal trap, I decided to keep trying today. I stayed away from Ally’s current love affair and decided instead to restart my story. It sucked even harder. To avoid the Netflix time-suck, I jumped around a little bit saying, “You can do this. You can do this.” I then pulled my lunch out and ate it at the counter, repeating the mantra, “Different angle. Different angle.” I went back into the office and stared at the screen for awhile. Eventually, when I realized that nothing was going to happen at my house, I went to the bar on the corner down the street to see if a beer would spark anything. The next story was so unspecific and blah that I eventually just paid the tab and went home.
I’ve often read to push through in this way, but my fear of what a crappy product could mean (i.e. I suck, I’ll never write anything good again, this is the true quality of my work and everything else was chance, etc.) usually keeps me from pursuing this line of working. But from what I’ve read, tiny jewels are waiting amongst the piles of cliches and generalizations. I decided to put the work aside for the day, choosing to wait until Monday to find hopefully at least one jewel. And even though I’m a little bored even reading this tonight, I beginning to trust that there is a benefit, even if I can’t see it.