They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so here I go.
I am a perfectionist.
This is not news to me, but it’s something that I’ve gradually come to come to grips with. To understand that, in many ways, it’s not a good thing. My wife reads a lot of Flylady stuff, and apparently the FlyLady and all her devotees are constantly talking about how to deal with perfectionism.
It’s taken me this long to understand it as a problem, because, like many creative types, I often overlook perfectionism when it’s cloaked as a drive for excellence.
But it’s a problem for me, because perfectionism demands a lot. I know I’m not perfect, but I know that I’m talented. I know that when I put my mind to it, when I fix my attention on something, I can make it pretty damn good. And I like to create, and I can’t stand it when creative endeavors are slipshod in the details. Spelling errors, quantizing glitches, bad color choices, samples out of key, mangled grammar… these things drive me up the wall sometimes.
The problem is that I’m not just involved in one thing that I can work on day after day, obsessing over the smallest things until I reach virtual perfection. Nope… my interests are too varied. I’m in a hip-hop group. I write original worship music. I’m working on a screenplay. Obviously, I have this blog. So I can’t afford to spend a massive amount of time on any one thing, because I just don’t have it. Life calls. I have to go to meetings, and make chiropracter appointments, and lead rehearsals, and stand in line at the DMV, and clean up all my stuff from the living room so that it’s presentable when my wife is off from work.
But Perfectionism rears its ugly head, and pretty soon I’m buried the minutia of some tangent of a side project that really isn’t that serious but somehow seems like a Really Important Thing. And the worst part about perfectionism isn’t that it creates artificially high standards. (I don’t want to write a mediocre screenplay, I want to write an award-winning script.) No, the suckiest part of being a perfectionist is that I feel like if I can’t do it as well as I want to, then I don’t want to do it at all.
THAT is when perfectionism ceases being just an annoyance and becomes an all-out affliction.
This is why I haven’t posted to this blog in like 38 years. I set out initially to try and write professional-grade editorials once a month, and after awhile I just couldn’t do it anymore. So rather than just lowering my standards and keeping at it anyway, I stopped.
And who know who suffered? I did.
So many times I thought to myself… I really oughta blog about this issue… but I just couldn’t put the time in to do it how I wanted to.
Well now I say, screw that.
I deliberately gave myself a 30 minute time limit on this post, and I’m almost there. I’m not promising to do this once a day, or once a week, or even once a month. I’ll do it when I want.
Of course, I do feel like I already fell off the wagon since I had to do a site redesign before I felt ready to start posting again, and I’m still hella annoyed that I can’t fix that ridiculous mismatched banner of white space hanging over the new Mixin’ It Up masthead.
But whatever. The Apostle Paul had his thorn in the flesh, and I have mine.