Being stopped by perfectionism

I have a huge problem... Even though I've never considered myself a perfectionist, I'm constantly stopped by my fear of not being good enough. It cost me A LOT to start writing my novel, because at first I was terrified of creating something terrible (even though I wasn't going to show it to anyone!). I'm genuinely envious of people who just try doing new things and are not terrified of failing. 
For example,  I've wanted to create a blog in order to get audience for my novel, as well as start expressing myself... but again, I feel like if I won't be instantly successful (which is impossible, let's be honest), there's no point to it. I dislike reading my own articles and diary entries, because they always seem lacking quality and just poor. 

Has anybody else had issue with this? How can I deal with my perfectionism and stop sabotaging myself?
  • 24 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @Elfprincess hello! thanks for sharing. i totally get it. i'm an author and writer myself...and i've felt the same way and sometimes still do...

    i think most writers feel that way sometimes...i think what helps me is to remember to have fun...like, i enjoy writing...so when i keep in mind i'm writing to enjoy it...it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks...i just do it...in small chunks here or there...

    just start a blog. writing is an art and there's no right or wrong..it's about experience. we'd all love to be best sellers huh? but i'm not attached to that. i'd rather just follow what i love (in all areas) and let the universe fill in the grid. 

    if you start a blog, send me the link...i love to read other's posts..not with a judging eye, but an appreciative eye...it's art and i love all art. 

    we all have a story, or stories...and the more you write, actually the more it comes with ease and flow.

    you are good enough....you are good. period. whether you're a beginner or expert..you're good enough. worthy. 

    our life journey is a journey toward self-love....

    hope this helps and i'm looking forward to being a part of your journey rooting for you and enjoying your words... :)
  • Well it seems to be something that you just need to work on, and accepting imperfection is really something that many of us might just take for granted.  You should just know that you are good enough but everything takes effort and determination, and use that as a positive to drive yourself towards the best.
  • In an ideal world I think that most people will want to do thing perfectly, but the sooner you understand that you simply can't, the quicker you be able to move forward and accept that mistakes are inevitable.

    Perfection is often sought, but very rarely found so making a mistake doesn't make you a failure, it makes you normal.
  • It is normal to feel the way you do; but there are times you need to be the person people envy. Get out of your box and do something different, not what others will do and you will attract followers. Feeling imperfect is a normal attribute of humans who are overly concerned, but you could adapt being yourself and not being too concerned about what others think as long as you know you are doing the right thing.
  • I don't know that I have any sound advice to offer, because this is honestly something I find really difficult myself. I'm always worried that other people will judge me - I know, that sounds ridiculous - but it's the truth! I'm just always conscious of what others will think or say. I've been trying to work on it more - and realize that no one is judging me - but it can be easier said than done.
  • Wow, I feel like I could have written this post myself, self doubt has kept me from doing a lot of things because I feel like I'm not good enough.

    I'm also a writer and I have to say you're better off than me because I haven't even started on my long planned book. I've read through your post Elfprincess and it's very well written and thought out. I'd like to read whatever you write. We can do it!
  • I've had issues like that, and that is why I haven't started my hobby blog about nail art and such.  I am just afraid to really suck at it, and also I tend to think that if I wait to have better resources and once my life is back on track I will do it better, but if we keep pushing this aside we will never do what we intend to. 
  • Well, I think that we all at some point are afraid to be unsuccessful, and it's completely normal, but you need to start thinking that you don't have to be instantly successful on something in order to enjoy that activity, as you've said you are doing things for yourself, and for now, just try to learn to enjoying them first before creating enormous expectations about them.
    Good luck!
  • First, I want to thank everyone for the replies... I was shocked to see so many people replied since I've been to the board!
    @dominica - I really appreciate having your support. I'm so happy that there's another writer on this board who gets how I feel! You've got no idea how much time it took me to start working on my novel. I had to fight my lack of self-esteem before - the voice that was telling me that I can't write. It no longer discourages me from pursuing being an author, but for some reason it's still strong when it comes to owning a blog. I guess my problem is that I don't believe that my thoughts and opinions matter. I'm so envious of people on tumblr who talk about EVERYTHING without second thought. 

    @pwarbi - I really need to move on from the black and white thinking that depression has pretty much forced on me. I'm slowly getting better, but the ugly thoughts tend to creep from time to time.

    @darkrebelchild - I LOVE you for those words about being the person I envy. I'll keep them in my mind. The fun thing is that people that I envy probably wish that they had someone else's looks or smarts.
     
    @kassie1234 - can you believe that when I was a young teenager, I couldn't even stand going to a library, even though I LOVED books (and obviously, still do), cause I was afraid of being judged by the lady working there? I was so terrified that she will think that a 13 y/o girl is stupid for reading young adult novels. At the same time, I was terrified of being judged for picking up an 'adult book' with mature content. I'm so glad that at least I no longer have those worries!
    @Lilypad - hey, I believe in your novel! If you want, we can become writing buddies and talk through PMs or emails and try to motivate each other :) Don't worry, just start writing! 

    @anorexorcist20 - You know, you've hit a nail on the head.  I so often worry about things that I wanna do making me successful (or not) that I forget about having fun... I'll try to unlearn this attitude. 



  • @Elfprincess I used to think my blogging wouldn't really make a difference, but I really did it for my therapy at first...Then, little by little others would read it and be like, "Wow. Thanks. Needed to read that." Makes us feel less alone or struggling alone...

    Just do it! What blogging platform ya thinking of going with?  I think Blogger or Wordpress are great. 
  • The problem is that there is no such thing as perfect. It doesn't matter how good something is or how perfect it may seem at the time, it can always be improved in some way. That means that nothing that anyone has ever done or ever will do is not and never will be perfect and that's universal. It's the same for everyone. Just be you and express yourself. If people don't like it or think it's not good enough that's just tough (for them)! None of them are perfect either. Just be you. There's no need to be concerned with other people's opinions.
  • I am the same way. I am my own worst enemy. I never think that anything I do is good enough. I second guess everything even though people will give compliments on me and what I do but I don't see it. It is a confidence too. I have very low self esteem. It is something you have to work on so that you can feel more confident in yourself and your writing.
  • @dominica - I've also been considering either Wordpress or Blogger. I think that I'm more partial to the first one. What service do you use? And mind giving me a link to your blog? I would also love to check it out :)
    @Cguru - What kind of meditation would you recommend to me? I've never tried it out, so I'm a complete and utter newbie...
  • Depression does take time to get over but I'm sure that you can one day say that you have fought it and won. Sure sometimes those feelings may come back, but you'll be in a stronger place to deal with them then, and once you've fought those feelings off once, you'll then know you'll be in a mentally stronger place to be able to carry on doing that in the future aswell.
  • @Elfprincess I use Wordpress. I've used blogger a long time ago and I like that too.... Let me know when you get something up! :) www.dominicaapplegate.com :)
  • @pwarbi - I'm not sure if depression will ever leave me completely, but I'm so much stronger now that I've gained awareness of it. 
    @dominica Thank you! Bookmarked your page, gonna check it out today when I finish writing my master thesis! :)
  • @elfprincess I hear you! I'm still nervous doing things like trying new gym classes or things like that, because I worry the people there won't be friendly or I'll feel like an outsider or I won't be able to keep up! I joined a bootcamp gym group recently and it's been great, but my husband had to basically push me out the door to go to it! He was like "don't get inside your own head too much - just go and have fun!" and he was right!!
  • Being aware of depression and seeing the signs, even though it sounds stupid, is a way of fighting depression in the first place.

    You know the signs, we all know the signs...it's just a matter of dealing with them before they take a hold and end up dragging you back down again
  • I used to be a perfectionist, but I worked hard and have left that part of me in the past. This quote from my favorite author helps me a lot:

    "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life....I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it." --Anne Lamott

  • @kassie1234 - Girl, I I'm so proud and happy for you! That's amazing that you've managed to overcome your fear. It's wonderful that your husband is so supportive. 
     You have no idea how much I despised the gym education classes. I still have nightmares about them from time to time. Because of my intense self-harm, I always had to change clothes in the toilet cabin inside the changing room. I'm 95% sure that everyone must have known that I was a self-harmer. 

    @pwarbi - I agree with you. I'm learning to be kind to myself and not judge myself like someone ignorant would... When I feel that I've been a mess at work, I remind myself that I'm kickass for being able to work despite my mental illness and that I'm doing my best.

    @DeanD - thank you for sharing this quote! I loved Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. That's a really interesting thought. I never connected perfectionism to the fear of death. 
  • There's still a stigma attached to mental health and depression, even in this day and age, and even though the help and support is getting better, there's still.a long way to go.

    For a person to realise and then get treatment for a mental health issue takes a lot of guts, so instead of focussing on the negative that you've got a problem, it's always better to focus on the positives, and that you've actually got help in the first place.
  • We are our own worst critics. Most people in the creative field feel or think that what they create isn't good enough. But hear this, nobody is perfect. No matter how good you are, some people will see faults in your work. But still, other people can or will appreciate it. If you are having doubts with your written work, have someone read them and seek their opinion. Or have someone edit them for you. 
  • I really identify with your experience and I know how much it affects our will to do something. We want to start and do it yet the failure is always behind us and stops us from even starting. I experienced it when I studied and always wanted to understand every single thing, even those I didn't need for the exam, and in the end I was always tired and felt that I had less knowledge because I was too worried with details that didn't matter. What I found that helped was studying with others and see that they also make mistakes and acknowledging that, with every failure, I learnt something. Not really useful for your case but remember that even writers like JK Rowling were once rejected. Good luck!
Sign In or Register to comment.