First off I must apologize to everyone who has so sweetly attempted to “follow” my blog, only to come to my site to find nothing new to follow. I am, as usual, perfecting the fine art of procrastination. I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging, and have lots of ideas about topics to blog about, but I am paralyzed by some sort of absurd writer’s block. It’s the type of writer’s block that stems from perfectionism. I often feel like if I cannot put out the “perfect” piece of writing, then it’s not worth writing at all.
I’ve found that this sense of perfectionism permeates my entire life. For example, my diet. I am by all means not a healthy eater. I love food, and I love the social experience of sharing it with my friends and loved ones. I celebrate with food, and I unfortunately also soothe myself with food as well. Now, as far as diets are concerned, I’ll go on them with high hopes and good intentions, striving for the perfect food diary and the perfect combination of fat, carbs, and fiber. All goes well for the first week, only to be quickly derailed. Instead of just picking up and going on with my plans I think, “I wasn’t perfect. I might as well quit.” And then I do. Same with exercise. And yoga. And mediation. And cooking. And the list goes on and on. Where does this sense of perfectionism come from?
I’m not sure if perfectionism is a hallmark trait of someone who has bipolar disorder, but I know that a lot of creative types suffer from it. I went searching for a way to overcome it, and was bombarded with ideas. I decided to narrow my search to just overcoming perfectionism in writing, and came across a phenomenal, tried-and-true exercise that seems to be working…the “free-write.” With free writing, you simply put words on the page, in whatever order they come into your head. There is no fear of criticism over the stream-of-consciousness writing that you put forth in a free writing exercise. I tried the it a few times and found that ninety percent of what I’d written was pure junk, but sure enough there was that remaining ten percent where some ideas shine through. There are definitely some diamonds in the rough in there!
Now the bigger question is how do I apply the exercise of free writing to my other life pursuits? Is there a sort of free write for dieting or physical fitness? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I’m willing to try anything that you come up with!
Until then, I’ll keep going in my daily pursuits and put one foot in front of the other until I fail. Then I will simply start over again. And so it goes.