….good or bad? Discuss.
In many ways, it depends on what you’re trying to perfect. For instance, perfecting my manuscript/synopsis/query letter is pretty important because no agent/publisher in the world will accept it if it’s full of typos. But, on the other hand, there’s no point going overboard on perfecting absolutely every single sentence because, chances are, an editor is going to pull it to pieces and demand I rewrite huge chunks of it anyway. It’s striking the happy medium, isn’t it?
Not something that’s easy for someone like me. Part of my BPD means that I am a PERFECTIONIST, and not in a good way. When you understand my BPD, you can understand why perfection is such a big deal to me and other BPD sufferers.
Because we suffer from overwhelming emotional negative reactions, it’s understandable that we would do everything in our power to prevent such reactions happening, isn’t it? My main trigger is criticism – I just can’t handle it well at all. I cry, whether I want to or not (and I really don’t want to). So the simple solution for my black&white brain is to never get anything wrong. If I don’t make a mistake, nobody can critisise me. Makes perfect sense.
Bloody impossible to carry out though. Nobody’s perfect.
The answer is to be reasonable. It’s not easy, and it goes against everything my natural instincts are screaming at me, but it’s the only way I’ve found to live a happy life. It took me a while to figure out, mind you. I ran myself into the ground at the end of 2011, thanks to my perfectionism trying to learn 4 or 5 new songs a week for a Christmas cabaret. I had something like 5 weeks to learn 18 songs and 3 dances and, boy, did my perfectionism demand I learnt everything perfectly in the shortest time-frame imaginable.
My psychologist suggested that, just maybe, I should only learn 3 of the songs one week and not even look at the other one. My perfectionism screamed, sobbed, threw a tantrum and sulked. Then I tried it anyway and realised that the world didn’t fall down around me. In fact, even though I “only” knew 3 of the songs perfectly, that was still 3 more than most of the other cast members.
I’ve tried to apply this principle to my life ever since, writing included. Which means that, by the end of this week, so long as I’ve read over my manuscript and synopsis once more, and corrected all the obvious errors/problems, that’s IT. Submissions will start the following week, no matter how much my perfectionism sulks.
And I’m only going to practise the audition pieces for our next show ONCE a day in the shower…well, maybe twice. But the script stays firmly locked away at the back of my wardrobe. I don’t NEED to be word perfect after all….maybe just a peek?