Monday, 23 July 2018

Perfectionism is the enemy of production

My list of passions is small. I have a list of interests as long as my left and right arms with the M 11 tacked on for good measure, but in terms of passions - the things I would do rain or shine, for better or worse, whether they pay the bills or not - is much smaller.

On this very exclusive list is writing, which may seem surprising given that my last post here was somewhere in the order of 18 months ago. But whether or not I share it, I do write regularly. I don't often keep a personal journal but I write fiction, I write work-related journal entries that help me think through problems, I begin and then never share around twice as many blog posts and tweets as I actually post.

The amount of my writing that is out in the world and publicly available is like the tip of the iceberg because, although I love the process of writing, I hate letting other people read it. Writing is so close to my internal thought process (and yet so far...) that it feels intolerably vulnerable to put it out there. I'm afraid of people seeing me, paying attention to me, judging me.

I'm trying to unpack that because if there's something I love doing it would make sense if I shared it with people. I'd really like to be able to share the work that I've been doing, the ideas that excite me or the stories I carry with me. Maybe I don't think I'm good enough or have anything of interest to say. Maybe if I share my writing, it stops being a passion and turns into a responsibility, a towering obligation to say exactly the right thing. It would be great if I could get over that.

But maybe it's okay if it's a mostly-for-me passion. Your passion doesn't have to be something you do for a day job or your side-hustle or any recognition at all. For me it's more important to remember to express myself in writing, photography, clothing, music - whatever - not to be acceptably "good" at any of those things.

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