Rules of perfection in writing? You might be micromanaging yourself – Java Code Geeks


Do you meet any rules of perfection when writing (or creating in any way)? Perhaps you have heard these statements, or you have said them to yourself:

  • You have to spend a lot of time “polishing” to create a perfect handwriting.
  • We should not publish until the job is perfect.
  • We can create a perfect room and it’s worth it.

I wish I could tell you that it was all true. I can not.

These statements are all false. Each of them.

When we let our rules of perfection sabotage our writing, we stop publishing. We often stop writing. This is because we micromanage every step of the way, instead of trusting us to fix this problem with our writing. (See Leadership Tip # 9: See and Stop Micromanaging – Learn to Trust Instead.)

How? ‘Or’ What? You practice writing “well enough” and learn to trust yourself.

Practice writing good enough to avoid polishing

I learned to write faster and better when I took a topic – any topic – and wrote for 15 minutes. No editing. To write. (See Writing Secret 2: Increase the writing speed when you separate writing from editing.)

Let’s deconstruct what I said.

First, choose a topic. No matter what subject. Do I have rules of perfection on the subjects? Yes of course. Instead of being crippled by my choice (I have to pick a perfect topic), I say this: I can pick any topic and write for 15 minutes without stopping.

If I’m done, I can post. If I have more to say, I can choose when to write more.

Second, write forward for 15 minutes. No editing. To write. No backup.

What if you have typos? We do not care? You can correct them in editing. And for now, look away from the screen. You could watch your fingers to practice writing without typos. Or you can look out the window while you keep writing. Fingers on the keyboard. Or a pen on paper.

You can correct typos at the end when you edit. You can’t finish anything if you don’t finish writing.

The more you practice writing, the better your first draft will be. You may not need another draft. At all.

Can you post before a piece is perfect?

Absoutely. I don’t strive for perfection in my blogs. And many of you have given me feedback when things don’t make sense. (Thank you!)

And if you want some feedback, you better post before the post is perfect. You can ask for feedback and people will suggest it.

Now for the biggie on time for perfection.

It’s not worth making a perfect piece

I write a lot. While I try to make my blog posts understandable, I don’t aim for perfection. I focus on clarifying my thoughts.

Why?

Even after I accept the changes, sometimes the editors make more changes. If I focus on clarifying my thoughts, editors tend to make less changes.

And don’t get me started in the books.

I have published almost 20 books. No matter how many editors I use, I can open a book anywhere and find a problem within a few pages.

You know the Pareto principle, where 80% of the results come from 20% of the work? Apply this to your writing. That’s why I focus on clarity first.

We rarely clarify with editing. More often than not, you need a story, an example, data, an image, something that helps the reader understand your intention.

So how can you learn to trust your writing and not micromanage yourself?

Turn your rules of perfection into guides and practice writing.

Transform your rules of perfection

Here’s how to turn a rule of perfection into a guide:

  1. State the rule precisely:

I must always do a perfect job. (You may need to be more specific. I must always choose a good subject; or reach my ideal reader; or write to my clients. If you can say “always,” you’ve captured your rule of perfection.)

  1. Switch must To can. Is it true? Ask yourself. To verify.

I can always do a perfect job. (For example, I can always choose a good topic. Or I can always reach my ideal reader, etc.)

  1. Switch always To sometimes. Is it true? Ask yourself. To verify.

I can sometimes do a perfect job. (Sometimes I can pick a good topic. Sometimes I can hit my ideal reader, etc.)

  1. Select at least three circumstances in which you can follow the guide.

I can do a perfect job when:

  • I feel that the work is important.
  • I have enough time.
  • The nature of the work allows it.

When you turn rules into guides, you stop micromanaging yourself. You learn to trust yourself. As long as you practice.

Practice writing (with me)

Practice writing with editing at the end. Write down and wait until you’re done to start editing. You will learn to trust yourself and spend a lot less time polishing.



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