Saturday, May 31, 2014

Writing, Fears and Perfectionism.

You've had one of those moments, you know when you are sitting next to your To Do List and you know all the things you need to get done when suddenly you find yourself on the couch watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and you have no idea how you got there. Today I wrote out all of my goals and to do lists. I highlighted, color coded, and drew my little empty check boxes.
I was ready to go but there were also two powerful forces at work that are both production killers (in addition to my love of good indie films): my fears and perfectionism.

Fear of Failure and Success:
   It has always baffled me how these seemingly opposing fears can manage to co-exist simultaneously. After all that I have gone through you would think something as fickle (and subjective) as rejection would not phase me the way it does. Every time my writing is rejected it takes all my emotional strength to get back up again and pursue the project. Where is this thick skin they keep telling me I need to have? Well if it's out there I have yet to develop it, hence why I hate querying so much. Or maybe it's supposed to hurt this much when you put so much of yourself into your work. My art teacher once told me that all paintings are self-portraits. She was right. Every piece of art you produce is a reflection of you. Even if you don't see it at first, it is.
     Right next to my dear old friend Fear of Failure is his equally ruthless sibling, Fear of Success. The fear of success does indeed exist and is very real for me. I am terrified of being known for my writing. Of being seen, judged, and watched. The perfectionist in me knows it's only a matter of time before all my flaws and mistakes become glaringly clear for the whole world to see. If I achieve my desires and goals than a complete new set of fears creep in–that I really have something to lose. How can I bear it if such a loss were to occur?

     Perfectionism can do wonders. You know, like help you do an excellent job on an important project at work. It can also fill you with so much anxiety that you don't even want to get started on a project or you don't want it to be seen. The problem is, is that perfection is an illusion. You can't do anything perfectly. Everything we do will have some flaws to a degree, even if they are minute. Accepting this fact is what seems to be the hardest. In my head I imagine others with no flaws. Even though I see them. I know they are there. I am affected by them on a daily basis. But when I see my own flaws it is as though I am the only one in a world where everyone else has miraculously achieved perfection. 
   Is there a solution to this conundrum? If there is, I haven't found it quite yet. But at least I am still in the game. For now I will take it one step at a time. One soul-crushing query letter at a time.

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