Being a perfectionist means you’re constantly as productive as you’d like to be, right? That you’re wildly confident and you laugh in the face of blog deadlines because you’ve had the foresight to tackle all of your projects and get them done early?
WRONG. So wrong.
In my case, being a perfectionist means scrutinizing every detail. I doubt my abilities, rethink my decisions, and spend more time than I should worrying that tasks won’t get done when they’re supposed to. I criticize myself when I should exude assuredness.
So how do perfectionists survive in the blogging world? How can we gain confidence in ourselves so we don’t worry so darn much?
If you’re guilty of any of these three blogging habits, then try to squash them by flipping them into positives.
Perfectionist bad habit #1: You feel guilty about tearing yourself away from work.
How to flip it: Take a step back whether you like it or not.
When you’ve been sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, even looking at pictures of LOLcats has the potential to stress you out. It’s tempting to keep your nose to the grindstone at all times, but that’s not healthy!
Do yourself an enormous favor and get away from your to-do list for a few minutes. Get up and stretch your legs, drink a cup of coffee, or head to your car and take a short drive around the block. If you feel like going for a quick jog or playing a crossword puzzle to get your creative juices flowing, then do it. When you return to your workspace after your break, it’ll be easier to focus on the tasks at hand rather than letting your mind wander about all those things you’d rather be doing.
Remember, our brains can only handle so much! It may feel like a requirement to burn the candle at both ends to meet a deadline, but our productivity actually suffers when we go into overdrive. A brief break will refresh your senses and leave you energized enough to write something epic.
Perfectionist bad habit #2: You feel your work is never the quality it should be.
How to flip it: Think before you scrap.
As a perfectionist, I always struggle with the urge to analyze and edit my work until nothing remains, at which point I’d be forced to start over with a completely new topic. What does that accomplish? Nothing – it’s a setback that costs precious time and energy.
Instead of getting critical and scrapping the progress you’ve made, push yourself to finish without looking back at previous work (unless it’s truly necessary, like when you clean up your blog a bit). This tactic works wonders for blogging or writing, because it helps those words emerge before you have the time to criticize any of them.
Also, if you absolutely have to cut out some of your progress, then don’t just hit the delete key and forget it ever existed. Specifically create a document for your now-unusable snippets and save that material instead! Many of my best blog post ideas were rescued from my own “scrap pile.” Waste not, want not.
Perfectionist bad habit #3: You can’t settle on a topic because you’re too picky.
How to flip it: Act on your ideas as soon as they show their faces; freshness aids in the writing process.
I used to dismiss “off topic” or “unconventional” blog post ideas when they popped into my head, but now I write down everything as soon as I think of it. The way I see it, there’s a reason why we get the ideas we do, and it’s like a slap in the face if we neglect our wellsprings of inspiration when they erupt.
Resist the urge to jot down only a sentence or a headline of a brand-new topic idea, though; instead, challenge yourself to write at least a paragraph’s worth of content right then and there. For example, if you get an incredible idea for a “how to” blog post, then outline as many of those points as possible while the topic is still fresh in your mind. It’ll get tougher to complete the longer you wait to compose the piece, and the topic may go stale. And remember, the writing doesn’t have to be perfect while you’re in the preliminary stages, so don’t worry too much about mechanics. You can always revisit those aspects later.
Get rid of writer’s block by acting on the topics you’re most excited about at the time you’re excited about them. Also, keep the ideas coming and record them, regardless of your immediate desire to write about them at length. You never know when they’ll come in handy!
BONUS TIP: If you have a mantra, then use it while you’re blogging (and in everything you do). If you don’t have a mantra, then perhaps it’s time to find one that motivates you. As my friend Craig would say: You have to focus on the opportunities instead of dwelling on the problems that plague you. Otherwise, you’ll never move past them to accomplish great things! Find what inspires you and don’t let it out of your sight.
It makes life as a perfectionist vastly easier.
How do you cope with perfectionism? Any more tips for perfectionists who blog?