Here’s another post in my write tips series. This is going to be number four. And actually, it’s not going to be about how to technically improve your writing, but how to help you in improving your writing. This relates to exams as well, I found, and so it falls right around that time of year. My first exam is on Monday, so I’ve been thinking on this topic a lot. Hopefully all that thinking will have gone into something useful (besides just trying to retain all the information I need to know for Monday).
Alright. So here it is.
Determination is a friend of Procrastination and Perfection.
Let me introduce our cast for today. Perfection, a lovely example of what we all want to strive for, but a bit of a scary and overbearing friend, who likes to boss around Determination. Determination is willing to please Perfection, and tries constantly to do so, while picking fights with Procrastination here and there. Procrastination secretly wants to be like Perfection, but is terrified of them, and so picks fights with Determination to try and keep them both away from their leading friend.
Alright. That should set the stage.
Any of this sound familiar?
The perfectionist inside us all says that if we’re going to do a job, we might as well get it done to the best of our ability (or even beyond that).
Determination then kicks in (like that time when I decided to just organize my closet and managed to do the whole thing in a few hours straight, no breaks, nothing….. it only happened once : P ) and demands that we try our hardest, and just sit down and work – strive for perfection.
The Procrastinator in us will either step in before Determination does, or after. If Procrastination steps in before, it’s usually because one doesn’t believe in their ability to reach the Perfectionist’s standards (whether it’s due to a want to do other things, tiredness, lack of self assuredness, a want for a specific pen to do the job, idk. You see the picture… there are lots of excuses). If Procrastination kicks in after… then it’s usually when you start running out of steam, get discouraged, or decide that it’ll never be perfect, so it’s best to just quit now.
This is a dangerous and vicious cycle to be in.
In the example of school projects:
You might push something off until the last night before it’s due, only to start and finish it just because that is the very very last possible moment you can do it (wether subconsciously or not, your Procrastinator has been telling you to put it off and wait until you’re more focused, wait until you can do a better job). This isn’t helpful at all, as in the end, your work is rushed, and it hasn’t met Perfection anyways, so Procrastination’s tactics were all for naught.
In the example of writing or anything with a self deadline:
This is an even worse place to be, as when you are assigning your own deadline or goals, then it is easy to just keep pushing back the deadline, saying you aren’t ready, and coming up with other excuses (like writer’s block) to push away that story or blog post that needs to get written.
No one is perfect. Perfection is a fake ideal that is presented to us by our own minds, the media, and the world around us. In real life, perfection is not being flawless, it is realizing that you’re beautiful because of your ‘flaws’.
I believe that God made each and every one of us just the way we are, and that since he is a creator of beautiful things, that not one thing about us was a mistake, or an error. That’s a wonderful knowledge to rest in.
For those of you who don’t believe in God, the principle is still the same. We can’t reach perfection. That’s just the way it is. That’s because those model ads aren’t real. ‘Flawless’ humans look very different in real life than they do post photoshop.
My point either way, is that we should stop trying to reach this false ideal of ‘perfection’ and just strive to be the very best we can be.
When The Best I Can Do fires the Perfectionist, and takes over at headquarters, Procrastination no longer has anyone to save you from. ‘The Best I Can Do’ is a good boss, and now Procrastination is out of a job. And this leaves Determination. They’ll still help you reach your goals, this time with nothing holding you back. And when your goals actually are reachable, you’ll find you have a much easier time accomplishing them. Surprise yourself. Don’t give up because of Procrastination whispering ‘you’ll never be that good’.
You are that good. There’s a gold mine of potential hidden in each of us, but only the determined will find it.
You just need to get off your butt, sit down, and practice, practice, practice. Go do that homework assignment ahead of time, and relax because you got it done early. Go finish another couple chapters of your book. Even if you scrap your work later, and start again, even if it seems to be crap at first, if you are determined to make it change, make it better, it will get there.