It’s about progress not perfection
Oh, this is such an important piece for me to read as I'm working on the second detailed revision of a book of essays I hope to self-publish in early January. I have a lot of work to do still, but something completed on that project is better than nothing completed on some days, especially when I have to go to work and be a mom 😉
Right! This is my 2nd attempt at writing a comment to your excellent piece. If this goes wrong the phone's getting launched across Costa trust me.
So, 1st attempt, I was thinking about what defines perfection. I guess it could be seen as something you personally cannot improve upon.
As regards writing the grammar has to be 100%. That goes without saying really. But for the actual writing? I found the technique of 'sleeping on it' worked for me. This could apply to a passage, a sentence maybe. Sometimes just one word. If, when I woke up, it still seemed ok, then all well and good. If however I wasn't totally happy, an alternative usually presented itself.
My novel was published in March of this year, and I don't regret one word. There is a short sentence I wish I'd put in. This came to me after publication, but it would have been a light hearted aside, nothing more.
So, for me perfection is coming up with something that is, for certain, the best you could do. If you've put in the hard work too, I can't see how it can be anything more.
Thank you for sharing your insight and the example of your progress tracker. While I have applied something similar to achieving a specific health goal it had not occurred to me to apply that to my writing work. Will definitely give it a try. Thank you.
Progress, not perfection is a mantra worth repeating to myself...often.
As a recovering perfectionist (among other things), who first heard this mantra in a 12-step meeting two decades ago, shedding the incessant need for perfection has been a slow but steady journey. Thanks for this--I’m retweeting you!
The idea of a perfect outcome also assumes that we actually know what the destination really is.￼ One thing I’ve learned from walking in nature and having to make choices about which way to go or which place to go to every day is that sometimes the universe is just trying to point you in the right direction. The destination isn’t exactly what you think it is but because you think it’s that you’re going the right way. So out there I often have to let go of what I thought the destinations was. I might’ve thought oh I need to go to the marina, but halfway to the marina I find something else interesting. I was going in the right direction. I think that’s why progress and just continuing to move helps because it helps the universe keep you moving in whatever direction I want you to go.￼
I hope that made some sense!￼
My mother was a perfectionist. I knew early on perfectionism was impossible because no matter what she got done, there was always more she didn't. Also, regardless how much I accomplished I was constantly compared to others. I've taken that on and with this piece I see that is not fair to me and I don't need to do it anymore. I do love the methodical approach to giving myself perceivable credit for every effort in the right direction. Love the comment about the lotus sutra below which Vasant Nath wrote... yesterday I put a lotus watch face on my watch which was a gift this week. My brother, long gone but who still talks to me and shares insights, accented about every step in the right direction. I love the gentle creative loving accepting and honoring voice that you have. Great compassion and courage, incredible wisdom that is a gift to others who know you and read you.
Hi Cali. This was really really nice to read. It’s a wonderful affirmation of something that I believe in too. From the perspective of our Buddhist practice I understand what you mean from the standpoint of making causes and also following the strategy of the lotus sutra which is to go at something with the most positive mind with with faith that if your effort is based on wisdom, compassion and courage its always going to go in the right direction. Thanks so much once again for this affirmation. Also it was really nice to see how systematic your process is and I think that there is something to learn from it. Lots of love￼