Perfect Sloppy Writing

A touch of perfectionism isn’t such a bad trait for a writer to possess. It’s especially useful in the final stages of completing a manuscript, so the final product is grammatically correct, reads well, and looks presentable. When a fierce perfectionistic scrutiny is activated in the initial stages of the writing process, it can create stress and blocks for the writer.

Anne LaMott has a great chapter on first drafts in her book Bird By Bird .

Some writers produce one sentence at a time,and fine tune each one before proceeding to the next. This combines the process of generating ideas with the task of editing the text. Not all brains are set up to accomplish these two tasks simultaneously, but if this works for you, don’t change.

If you are avoiding writing, however, because you can’t tolerate seeing any of your words written down in less than perfect shape, you may want to consider learning to postpone your perfectionism.

Learn to tolerate messy, disorganized first drafts, realizing that writing in the initial  stages is often an essential part of the process of clarifying and organizing your thoughts. You might have to let your creative mind generate written material in this way, remembering you can beat the project into a more perfect shape in later drafts.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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