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Strategies to beat Perfection Syndrome
The first step in fighting Perfection Syndrome is to acknowledge that you've got it, and know that it's beatable. Any of strategies below will help.
* Morning Pages: first thing each morning, write three pages in longhand. The pages don't have to be about anything. You can write three pages of whining about situations in your life, or three pages of "This is stupid, I don't know what to write". Yes, but--- you're thinking: I'm supposed to write three pages no one will ever see, much less publish? YES. Just try process.
* Check in with your subconscious mind. Just wonder quietly about image you hold of your writing self. Either awake, while daydreaming, or in a dream, and image will float into your mind. If it's negative, change it to a life-affirming, encouraging and hopeful one.
* Set a target number of words for each writing session. However, set word target and quality LOW. Even on your worst migraine day you can write 200 words of gibberish. Or, promise yourself that whenever you turn on your computer, you will write 50 words on your current project.
* Keep a writing log for each writing session for a week. List what you worked on, how many words you wrote, and how you felt before you started writing and how you felt when you finished. Your writing log will convince you that writing can alter your moods: you'll feel better when you finish your writing session than you did before you started. It will also convince you that you can write when you're depressed, tired, or ill.
* Start a story prompts/ ideas file. A fresh idea may tempt you if you're resisting working on your current projects.
* Where else in your life do you expect perfection? If you're struck with Perfection Syndrome, it will manifest in other areas. List five of those areas, and several ways to combat each
* Perfectionism leads to procrastination: do one task each day that you've been putting off. Be willing to skimp on task, and do it badly, but do it.
Copyright © 2002 by Angela Booth
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Australian author and journalist Angela Booth writes about business, technology, health and creativity for print and online publications. She also writes copy for businesses large and small.