The Problem with Perfection

I just finished a revision on a paper for school, and I feel okay about the changes I made.  I have to add here that I hate revision.  What chances do I have of ever becoming a writing instructor with that sentence out there?  Well, its true. I have such high expectations of myself that I do not make allowances to not get it right on the first attempt.  No second chances for me.   Margaret Atwood says, “If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.” Yeah.  I wait for perfection, and it never comes hence the crippling creative block I’ve been suffering from these last few years.  I do not tolerate anything less than perfection, until now.  In this blog, this public forum of all places, I am finally free to just write without expectation of doing anything but getting words out.  Unfortunately, This attitude has not yet influenced my academic life as I still do not draft as I should.  I pore over my computer screen for hours with the blinking cursor taunting me at the top of the empty screen.  The problem here is that I simply feel that I have no time for drafting, and that I have to produce that “A” paper on my first attempt, and for awhile that technique served me well.  But, that was back when I was not as backward creatively as I am now.  Essays are a struggle, and the essay I just had to revise is proof of that fact.  It was really bad.  Which brings me to the next reason why I hate revision: I am too embarrassed to go back and read what I have previously written. I write and never look back unless I absolutely have to do so.   I am terrified to discover just how awful my writing is; therefore if I never read it, I never have to know and just let someone else determine its value for me.  I have no confidence in my abilities.  None.  I could make all the As in the world, an receive glowing reviews and compliments, but I’m not sure that I could ever believe that I am good at anything (much less the thing I want to be good at the most: writing).  I am beginning to see that to get out of the mess I am in that I just have to jump.  I just have to believe that my writing has value, that I have value. So, I just have to keep on trying, I guess, and maybe one day I will believe.  My lesson here is that, okay, revision isn’t my enemy (this is a lesson I have to keep relearning), and I have to give myself permission to write badly to be able to write at all.

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