Thursday, November 08, 2007

Perfectionism Revisited

"Perfectionists tell themselves that their determination to be
perfect will win success..." (From Perfectionism: A Double-Edged Sword)

I know that I cannot personally be perfect, and don't try to be. I know that in much of my life I'm not going to do things perfectly and I'm fine with that. I try to do the best I can, but hey, we're not perfect. Even in the Christian life, I'm well aware of how weak and stupid I am, and how easily I fall and fail and have to get back up again. There's freedom in all that.

But there was one little spot... maybe one of those little rooms that Eph 4:27 references in "do not give the devil and opportunity" ("opportunity" translated from topos which means a spot, a location, a room). A place in your thinking where you are blind to what you're doing. Those motivations we don't always know we have, or that we've slipped back into.

One of those little areas where I was operating in full blown perfectionism and didn't even know it. If I could just come up with the most scintillating plot, exciting, compelling, profound, why then the book would be successful. If I fail to do that, of course the book would not be successful. It all depends on me. I have to do it.

I thought I had already jettisoned that nonsense from my thinking and yet, here it was, back again. Like those nasty spirits in Poltergeist. "They're ba-ack..." Ick.

Of course all this is a battle of thoughts. Thoughts like that must be confronted and brought into captivity to the mind of Christ. And the mind of Christ says I am already accepted by the only one who matters -- God, Himself -- and that God is fully able to bless me with adundant success if He chooses, success that would have nothing to do with my striving for the perfect plot. One look at the industry would show me books I don't think have good plots being wildly successful while books I think have good plots fade into the background. So... the whole thing is just nutty. Especially when I let it push me into procrastinating and then into guilt and fear and all the rest of it.

** I wrote the preceding paragraphs on Tuesday, figuring that Wednesday and Thursday I would proceed in dealing smoothly with this newly identified relapse into perfectionism. Of course, that approach is perfectionistic in itself. And there were so many things that happened in these last two days that... I didn't really have the chance. One thing I did realize is the importance of babysteps, as Flylady says. Babysteps in the writing as well as in all the other things. But how can I apply the concept of BabySteps to writing?

That's for next week, by which time, hopefully, I'll have figured it out.

Have a great weekend,