The perfection-Something we all unconsciously strive for. Well, before that, the fact that you are here to read this blog makes it clear that somewhere deep inside you, the roots of perfection also exist. This blog covers the aspects of perfectionism in writing. And how we strive to see perfection in the writing of others.
So, if you are a writer who wants to overcome the perfection block of writing. Or if you are a client who wants the perfect writing. Or if you are an individual who wants to overcome the perfectionist in his or her life, this blog is for you. (And, if you want to know the perfect sentence).
It will not be fair to discuss perfect writing, without discussing perfectionism. So, what exactly is perfectionism?
It is a personality trait that wants an individual to be on a path, where there is no space for mistakes.
It is striving for perfection, such that flawlessness.
Perfectionism also covers the idea of pleasing every person around you by being perfect to their definition of you.
Well, I define it as:
The path to the non-acceptance of being a human.
It is a significant aspect that needs to be discussed when talking about a perfectionist writer. Many times, we tell ourselves that these both are the same terms.
Trust yourself, they are not.
Learning is about grasping the concepts that align with your inner self. And implementing them side by side. It forms the basis of improvement.
Perfectionism is about searching for the concepts that are perfect in their way. And this search never leads to implementation. It does not form the basis of improvement.
- Masslive mentions that the number of perfectionists in a general population is around 30%.
- Healthcare states that presently, out of every five kids, two are perfectionists.
- Mindtools mention the research according to which perfectionism can lead to health issues like depression, anxiety, migraines, and burnouts.
The power of words can change around the direction of any circumstance, approach, and decision.
As a writer, one always strives for the idea of having the perfect words that perfectly describe the perfect meaning.
A lot of perfect, isn’t it? Absolutely.
It is what’s perfectionism in writing.
Some of the expectations of perfect writing are the happiness of people, the appreciation from them, and their validation. The satisfaction of oneself is the by-product of all these three. And, let’s be straight, personal satisfaction is never the priority in this scenario.
When you want the perfect writing, the perfect cover letter, the perfect resume, and just the perfect idea, there is nothing perfect.
It is within our imperfections that we find the perfection.
In reality, it comes in the disguise of hesitation and never-ending improvement. (Improvement is amazing, but not in this way!)
Every platform has its definition of perfect writing. There are a certain set of rules that need to be fulfilled to satisfy the criteria.
So, let’s have a look at some of the renowned platforms and their set of rules:
Writing and Perfectionism for Facebook
To craft the perfect Facebook post, you need to keep it short. The ideal would be to keep the post to less than 40 characters.
Along with that, certain research shows that having the link in the posts to a detailed article is the key.
And of course, you need to provide your audience the simple and concise content with a clear call to action.
If you want to study more about the perfect Facebook post, visit Buffer. They have an amazing article about it.
Writing and Perfectionism for Google
The perfect content for Google is the search engine optimized content.
This content contains a combination of keywords placed at the right position that allows the search engine to crawl through it effectively.
In addition to this, linking out the content to the others’ increases the engagement and ranks your content higher on the webpage.
For additional information, visit the detailed article at LilachBullock.
Writing and Perfectionism for LinkedIn
Since LinkedIn is a professional platform, you need to keep your content composed and qualified.
The post should be valuable for the readers and relevant to your network.
The content you post on LinkedIn could form the basis of the next opportunity offered to you. Along with that, conversational content is also the best one to put out on LinkedIn.
For detailed information, visit the composed blog of Neil Patel.
All in all, the definition of perfection in writing will change with the platform.
So, declaring one writing style as a perfect one can be troublesome for you, especially if you are a writer. Even in these rules of perfection, you cannot expect to check all the boxes.
Start small and keep consistent until you achieve the best of it.
Oftentimes, the hardest part is not to overcome the perfectionist in us. But, the idea of exploring ourselves and discover if we are a perfectionist or not?
Our mind tells us several reasons to consider ourselves to be not a perfectionist.
These reasons may sound like: ‘But I’m just trying to improve’. ‘If I will not plan enough, how can I write?’. ‘Perfectionism is creativity, No?’.
Well, if you ever said any of the above, the following are some of the clear and visible signs. These will allow you to unveil if you are trying to be a perfectionist in writing.
(Why trying? Because you can never BE a perfectionist writer, after all you are a human. Always remember that! :))
It’s in our nature to plan and research everything before we take the first step. Planning is a crucial tool in every process.
But, if you find yourself in the loophole of planning endlessly until it’s no different than execution (But, not actual execution), it is perfectionism.
Excessive planning can reduce the efforts and chances you would put up in actually executing it.
If you want a solid example or research to back up this idea, visit this excerpt from the book Atomic Habits that describes the idea of Quality versus Quantity.
It is a common terminology when it comes to the fields of writing. If you find it hard enough to get back to the writing after some break, it is a sign of perfectionism.
Because the time you make to take a break is spent on revising all the thought loops of how what you wrote could have been better.
Being your first editor is always great. But don’t be your first critic, especially the negative one.
Don’t aim for the perfect writing and flow. Instead, the one that describes your ideas tangibly and effectively.
As humans, we want to have everything, every time. We often link our happiness and satisfaction with the number of achievements we have made.
If you find your mind processing the thoughts of trying to achieve everything, it is a sign of perfectionism.
You can achieve the things that you work hard for. But, these things will always come in their truest version. And not in the perfect form you expect them to be.
No matter what you are writing or who you are writing for, there will be several checkboxes every time. These boxes come as a set of rules that need to be fulfilled to have the perfect writing. If you find yourself trying to check all the boxes, you for sure are in the pursuit of being a perfectionist writer.
Doing your best and beating yourself up for not being perfect are two different things.
Many of the perfectionists are people pleasers. The writers define their writing as perfect based on the number of individuals that engaged with it.
Indeed, it is a realistic parameter. But, if this is the only thing you strive for, you will find yourself distracted from the path of providing meaningful content. So, if this is you, it is a big sign of perfectionism.
Following are some of the suggestions that can help you in overcoming perfectionism in writing.
The names of all these techniques have been coined by me. However, the credit of the wisdom behind these goes to the author of every book, I ever read.
So, let’s get started.
Alright, a practical yet seemingly childish idea. But trust me on this one. It’s going to do wonders for you.
So, imperfection signal is the process of leaving one conscious mistake in your writing.
Hold your horses before you prepare them to debate with me on it. I know how hard it is for a writer to go through a badly structured or imperfect grammatical sentence. I know.
But, leaving that one conscious mistake somewhere at the top of your writing is the key. It will remind you every time you will open the document that perfection is something you need to stay away from
However, you can remove these imperfection signals before the final delivery of the content. Because of course, it is for you and not everyone. It’s your secret.
So, you have to set up your perfect time. The idea is that 20% of the total time spent on writing is the one you have for the planning phase. 60% for the execution phase. And the rest 20% for the editing and finalization phase. (You can change the percentages at your will. But, the execution phase needs to be 3x the planning phase).
For instance, let’s say it takes you two hours to complete the work of writing a 500-word article. It’s 120 minutes.
So, no more than 24 minutes for the research and planning (outline included). 72 minutes for writing the first draft. And 24 minutes for the editing and finalization.
The rule of this technique is that if you save some minutes from one phase, you have the liberty to use them in the succeeding ones.
Having a fixed timing for every phase will allow you to overcome perfectionism by reducing the freedom of choice. The freedom of choice you held previously to dynamically decide the time for each phase.
The Judgement Gap
The judgment gap is the amount of content or the length of timing before which you cannot judge what you wrote.
Simply put, you can have a judgment gap of, for example, five content pieces. Such that you will consciously not think about the first content piece you wrote before you have written the fifth one.
Or, let’s say, you set the judgment gap of 24 hours. In these 24 hours, you will not think back to what you wrote in the last content piece. I think 24 hours one works like magic.
It will seem a bit hard at the start, but your mind will get programmed to it soon.
The psychological approach behind this idea is to consciously give your mind the gap to process the thoughts about something you just did.
It will reduce the unconscious thought loops. Ultimately, helping you to not fall into the pit of perfectionism.
The Now Alert is writing just at the time you have a thought that you have to write.
The time between you think you have to write, and you write is the major cause of perfectionism.
The more we increase this gap, the more chances of our brain to process the ideas of perfectionism arise.
Whenever you have a thought that you need to write, pick up your laptop or paper and pen. Set up a do not disturb timer for 30 minutes. And write whatever comes to your mind for those 30 minutes.
It will allow you to program your mind to focus on the moment of now rather than planning. All this leads you to strive for the best and not perfect.
It’s writing, not you
When you associate your writing with your identity, you will always find yourself in the pit of perfectionism.
As humans, we want to present ourselves as our best version to the world.
But, the writing you do is something you do. And not something you are.
When you differentiate your identity and writing, you not only save yourself from perfectionism but also improve your writing.
The simple approach to this technique is from the book Atomic Habits. (Yes, I love this book!).
Always say that ‘I write’. And not that ‘I am a writer’. Notice the difference? I mean, it feels different, doesn’t it?
Well, all this discussion of perfectionism in writing wants the perfectionist writer in me to say something.
Though, I promise, I will not say more than one perfect sentence. So, bear with me as I put forward my perfectionist writer for just one sentence:
Always remember, nobody can be perfect in being you.
That’s it. Bye perfectionism!
There exists a perfectionist writer in all of us. However, it does not lead to the idea of improvement and implementation.
So, there are simple tactics of identifying if you are also trying to be a perfectionist writer. And the simple ways of overcoming them.
Are you trying to be a perfectionist writer too? (Be honest with yourself).