I am on reddit.com/r/writing way too much but I find it helps push me to get my 500 words a day down. Maybe one day when I have some skill, I’ll up that to 1000 a day. It’s been around 6 months and boy am I tired of the, “I would write more, but I am a perfectionist and cant move on till my sentences are just right.”
Good god, that’s a pet peeve of mine. Reminds me of answering, “What is your biggest weakness” at a job interview with, “I just work too hard”.
We all want our prose to be as good as we can make them. Saying that you want this so much more then the average person that it stops you from writing all together, is so fake. This is a symptom of not wanting to give a serious effort. Before you start quoting some of the best authors you can think of complaining about the same problem, consider this.
If you wanted to be a Quarter back and someone asked, “How is your practicing going”. Would it make sense for you to reply, “Well, I can’t practice to often because I am too much of a perfectionist that everything has to be utterly perfect or I just won’t get anywhere.” No, you practice if you are tired, had too many drinks the other night, got a new puppy, or allergies making your eyes a bit red.
Get that out of your head. Please, it is not an excuse. It’s self delusion.
I just watched this lecture with John Cleese and he formalized ideas I have been lightly touching at.
The lecture is about being creative. How, do you get yourself to be creative? Where does it come from?
If you’ve got the time, it would be great to watch the thole thing, if not here’s a short version. No one knows how to be creative or how to make themselves be creative on a whim. At best you can create a situation in which you are open to creativity.
Those ideas that spawn in opening a thought that you hadn’t had, are usually a product of a few conditions. One, you have spent the time to lay a mental framework to an open mind around the situation. Two, you allow yourself to be free to play and ponder, without bogging ideas down with pressure to be ‘right’ or ‘fast’.
He recommends setting a time, like an hour and a half, to practice getting and holding this ‘Open mode’. Then get used to moving to a ‘Closed mode’ when it comes to implementation.
This is extremely close to my view on training up those creative thought. Which isn’t an easy thing for me.
I would add a stipulation that it helps to first have a certain degree of understanding of a subject. So, if you are trying to come up with a creative play in chess. You’ll have to understand the game well enough to know that what you have come up with is something.