Monday, June 17, 2013

Prairie Grl Ponders Perfection

"There's a crack in everything.  That's how the light gets in."  Leonard Cohen

I have recently figured out that I am a perfectionist.  HUGE surprise to me.  I am the type of gal who will wear a coffee stained top to work and pretend it happened while driving to work.  (Thank goodness panty hose are now socially discouraged because of the "run" issues.)    I also don't worry if my kids' faces are streaked with M and Ms or if I managed to completely wipe up an apple juice spill.  In most areas of my life, good enough is good enough.

However, when it comes to my creative endeavors I am a complete perfectionist.  I become so worried about writing the perfect first sentence or locating the most meaningful shred of paper that nothing gets done.  I have chapters of incomplete books written.  Usually what happens is the plot gets too messy and I can't make my characters behave.  At my last writing workshop, my classmates insisted I dump my carefully crafted antagonist by chapter two.  The antagonist was so flawed that everyone hated him.  I mean, they REALLY hated him.  No one wanted to read to chapter eight to figure out why he was a train wreck.  So, I made the misunderstood antagonist go on an unexplained road trip and then replaced him with a Ghost Grandmother.  (Now that I think of it, I should probably be writing for some  soon to be canceled soap opera.) 

Today I start another writing class.  Writing children's books.  (I figure I should be able to finish a children's book.)   I have been up since 3:17 because the only idea I have is a self-centered hamster who loves maps. Brene Brown says in her book, Daring Greatly.  "Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence.  Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth.  Perfectionism is a defensive move."  WHAT!!!?!  I guess that means I need to try something new.

So, just for today, my Prairie Friends, I am going to trust the creative process and complete each step along the way.  My self-centered hamster may need to evolve into a turkey who needs glasses.  My poignant collage tribute to Nancy Drew may need to be finished without an illustration of her convertible.   It is all good.   



  1. Yes, trust the process. I think your self-centered hamster has great potential for a series--each book could be centered around a different map/location. *I* want to read it!

    But, um, you really need an illustration of Nancy in her roadster. Even if you have to draw it yourself...

  2. YAY! One vote for the self-centered hamster. I like the idea of each book being a journey - as long as he doesn't have to join The Bobwhites Mystery club. Found the illustration of Nancy in her roadster. It involved ripping it from one of my childhood books. My mother would definitely not approve. Eydie

  3. Sharon - I am sick of your photo popping up all the time. It is like you think you're queen of the prairie. We need to discuss this at our next business lunch.

  4. OK whiner. I have my picture off (flowers instead) and your name added to mine.