Paralyzed with Imperfection

Awhile ago, I ordered a book from Amazon called Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook.  I’m not the book’s intended audience because I’m old, but it’s an awesome book!  It has the advice and encouragement that every writer needs to hear – the advice I rarely run across amidst research about literary agents, query techniques, and editing out adverbs.  🙂

Page 1:

Getting Started by Anne

1.  Pick up a pen.

2.  Write a few words on paper.  Like this.

3.  Write whatever comes into your head – words, images, sounds, babbling, nonsense, laughter, crazy thoughts, last night’s dream, a shopping list…

4.  That’s right – ANYTHING.

5.  Keep on going.  See what happens.

6.  You’re writing!  Don’t get dizzy…

I don’t know why it seems harder than this. Writing (and life) just seems… I don’t know… complicated.  It seems like I shouldn’t put words to paper until I’ve got it all figured out.

So I don’t write anything.

I sit and stare at a blank page or screen and become paralyzed with impending inevitable imperfection.


I’m going to mess it up.

I can’t write anything.  I’ll ruin it.

I’ll ruin everything.



On page 7 of Spilling Ink, I’ve found the solution to my paralysis:  “Official Writer’s Permission Slip”

It’s written in fancy font and states that there are “no time limits or expiration date” on it.  And right now, I’m going to sign it.

Ha!  Done.

And now, dear readers, I extend this freedom to you in writing and in life.

Mess up!  It’s okay.  You don’t have to get it right every time or even most of the time.  You no longer need to be paralyzed with imperfection.  If I can do it, you can too!


One thought on “Paralyzed with Imperfection

  1. Katie! I totally need this permission slip! I have many an empty journal because I want to wait till I have something “good/interesing/thought provoking/emotional, etc” to write in it. Then I don’t write anything in it at all. Pretty soon, my life will pass me by, and I won’t have anything written about it! That makes me sad to think of… I know that journals are for myself, so they don’t have to be perfect, so why do I feel the need to be perfect in my writing? Ugh!


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