The Heavy Link - Perfectionism and Procrastination

Saturday, January 20, 2018
One of our amazing contributors. Renee Roberson, recently wrote a great article about our creative health. Take a moment to check out her article here:

The timing couldn't be more fabulous (as far as I'm concerned) because I was working on something on my end regarding the link between procrastination and perfectionism. There is definitely a link and it's a very heavy one - if you don't believe me, just go to Dr. Google and type in the words: perfectionism and procrastination. WOW! I like it when I'm not the only one who notices things and there is definitely a correlation here.

I was raised on some very sturdy old-fashioned values. The early bird catches the worm. Why put off until tomorrow what you can get done today. Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it again. These are great, right? Maybe not so great...

Here I am, waiting until tomorrow to submit my manuscript because if I go over it once more I can find one more mistake. Waiting to sit down and write until the house is spotless, every bit of dust has been eliminated, and every sock has found it's mate. Typing each sentence over and over again until it shines brighter than the sun (and then deleting it again because I want it to resonate with each and every reader with no possibility for a negative review). My expectations and goals are completely unrealistic. So I wait.

Then, as the deadline approaches I realize I have to get something down on paper. My heart beat quickens, my neck aches, and I chastise myself relentlessly for not following all those golden rules emblazoned on my brain since childhood. I question everything about myself because I think only lazy people wait until the last minute. But alas - I sat down recently with some very smart women and many of us have the same procrastination problem. I feel a bit better about it knowing it's linked to my perfectionism and not my lack of ambition or knowledge.

Where do we go from here? Well, I for one am going to turn to the expert advice from Renee's article: Taking Inventory of Your Creative Health and I'm going to try to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier and then I'm going to cut myself some slack. I'm going to stop expecting perfection from myself when I'm very understanding of the flaws of others. I'm going to stop overthinking each and every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter. I'm going to start enjoying writing more and stop feeling the heavy link around my neck - the heavy link of perfectionism gone wrong.

What have you done to help avoid these pitfalls of writing?
What is holding you back?
What advice can you give others who fall into this perfectionist trap?

Thank you for your thoughts!


Crystal is a council secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, five young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 4, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Crystal, I suffer from perfectionism as well. It can be crippling because nothing is ever perfect, no matter how hard we try! I've learned to loosen the reins a little over the years and just let some things go. I read somewhere that successful leaders only spend a couple seconds making decisions. A lot of their decisions may be wrong, but at least they're decisive. The wrong decision or action is better than no action at all.

Crystal Otto said...

So true Ang!

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks, Crystal! I'm also trying to let go of the fear of not being perfect that keeps me from moving forward with various writing projects! I also worry about every little sentence, typo, and whether or not my writing is lyrical and beautiful enough.

Good luck!

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