I’ve been slowly picking my way through Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” which is essentially a Coles Notes-style collection of his best pod-cast interviews, summed up and categorized in layman’s terms. This was a gift my boyfriend had requested (and got) for Christmas, which I quickly snaffled for myself to read shortly after he opened it, a common occurrence in our household. Anyway, while reading I came across
this interview with writer and comedian, Whitney Cummings:
“ Perfectionism leads to Procrastination…which leads to Paralysis”
– Whitney Cummings, on productivity and self-esteem.
Get out of my Brain, Whitney!
I’ve had this particular quote flagged for literally, months wanting to write about it. Her words mirror exactly how I nonsensically view any, and all types of written work that I do. I want everything (including this blog) to be perfect*, and it takes days, weeks even before I hit the “Publish” button; which is always done with a quick, deep breath in, like I’m about to jump into freezing cold water. Exhilarating and terrifying all at once.
* Perfect in terms of authenticity, and feeling- not grammar, MOM and other grammar sharks out there!
What’s great (in theory) about having a blog is having the creative license to do with it, whatever I want. My particular hurdle to continue writing, however is that because I’m tied to this, as it’s MY passion project and a representation of ME – is that I get stuck. Some may see this as an “Oh Well-type situation” but this feeling of “stuck-ness” aka procrastination, can be debilitating.
Procrastination in essence, is the fear of failure. If I hold off on completing “X”, I can’t be held accountable for “X’s” failure. I can blame outside influences for rushing through “X”, saying I didn’t have enough time to make it perfect, or worse yet I can pretend that I don’t care about “X” all together, which would be a lie.
I completely understand that feeling of paralyzation, it’s not writer’s block for me it’s the fear of being judged. The fear that I’m not being truly authentic, the fear that I’ll be found out, fear that I’m a huuuugeeeee phoney! And soon everyone I don’t give a shit about on Facebook is going to know! Heaven help me…
Heres what Google says about my fear of phoney-ism.
“Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.”
I suppose the upside to all this, is having only a handful of followers, yay! Thanks for stickin’ with me y’all.
So, why am I so scared to share my writing anyway?!
Admittedly, I wouldn’t even classify myself as a writer to begin with but I do feel the creative impulse to write; which comes to me only in small, sporadic yet enthusiastic bursts – hence this blog and it’s once a month if at all post frequency.
Just the other day I shared these feelings with a friend and fellow creative, who has been experiencing her own struggles in building her website following. She wisely invited me to adopt her current mantra – “Progress, not Perfection” which I thought was brilliant! Her advice came to me shortly after I sent her and (shockingly) 1 other person the link to my blog, looking for feedback. What I realized through sharing was that I wasn’t alone in my feelings of self-consciousness, and doubt in my abilities. Phew!
Ultimately, I believe it’s a sign of courage to put yourself out there, without any promise of success or glory – and it takes practice! I’m also learning that it doesn’t always get easier over time, certain things are inherently difficult, like mountain biking, meditation or trying to do anything sans coffee… my blog/my hard things.
I recognize that in the grand scheme of life, all this is a non-issue. But…(there’s always a but) I’m certain in my heart of hearts that we will all feel this at some point and we can all benefit from getting out of our own damn way! No one at my funeral is going to say “Gee, she really sucked at that whole blogging thing, didn’t she?”