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Dead Batteries

9 January 2012

This very icon is superimposed on my forehead every morning.

Lately, I have the feeling I’ve been coming down with something. I have all of the symptoms of being sick without actually feeling sick — alternating congestion, sneezing, and fatigue. Of the above, the fatigue is the only one that really bothers me.

When I wake up in the morning (or, in some cases, not in the morning), I want nothing more than to sleep for just five more minutes. Granted, if I did stay in bed for five more minutes, it would quickly become ten minutes, then an hour, then all day. It’s frustrating, though, because I can’t help but think that if I could get those five extra minutes, I would wake up feeling alert and refreshed for the rest of the day.

Spoiler alert: that’s not true, folks. And the same can be said of a lot of our creative endeavors. I know I sometimes have the feeling that if I could just tweak that scene a little more, or if I could just work on that intro for two more days…

It’s great to want to have everything be perfect, but striving for ultimate perfection in writing is a great way to never finish anything. Sometimes, good enough just has to do the trick, especially in first drafts. That’s the reason I started posting first drafts directly from my skull into the Twittersphere — to get myself out of obsessing over every word, to realize that I can fix it in editing later, and to just keep the story moving.

And you know what? It works. For today, grant yourself the freedom to just move forward, even if what you’re working on isn’t perfect. I think you’ll be surprised with how quickly you can move once you trust yourself to make correctable mistakes.

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