Get Outta My Way! Pushing Past Amazing

I already knew that I was my own worst critic, but recently I have realized how much I can get in my own way.

An upcoming deadline to submit a piece of writing is a great example, making me realize the layers of the challenge.  I’ve known for a month that I wanted to write something for the Insecure Writers Support Group anthology.  Yet, here I am at the edge of the deadline with nothing written, struggling to find an idea.

I’m not just struggling for an idea for the one project, but for any of my writing.  The struggle is contagious, or perhaps just builds on itself.  For the first time in months I am sitting down in front of my Work-in-Process and having NO ideas.  Sure, I’ve struggled before with a character, found myself edging up self-set deadlines unsure if I’d make them.  But this is different.  This time it feels like all my ideas are hiding, running from me as fast as they can.  It’s even spreading to my job — basic language to convey basic information that, on a normal day, would be simple for me to write becomes an all-consuming challenge.

The reason, I think, is the pressure I’ve started putting on myself.   I see an opportunity, something that would be excellent (and so cool) to be a part of.  Which means, of course, that whatever I put together for it would have to be AMAZING.

There it is.

AMAZING.  

My own version of “perfect.”  I’m fine sweeping away the idea of perfection — I know that is something that can’t be achieved — but AMAZING…. that should be attainable.

But, what is amazing?  It’s a high-bar to reach, and it means every single idea and every single word gets super-analyzed.  It means NOTHING is good enough.  Nothing is original enough, nothing will do.

As long as I hold myself to an expectation that is undefined, and unattainable, I set myself up to fail.  Which then destroys my sense of being able to accomplish things, which feeds into over-analyzing all the writing and so on and so on.  A vicious cycle.

Sometimes I have to just get out of my own way.  I have to let go of this idea of “amazing.”  I have to just write.  No matter how stupid the idea might be, write it.  Editing can happen later, but if I don’t get anything on the page I end up with nothing at all.

This time, though, I couldn’t quite get myself to put words on the page.  Perhaps (hopefully) recognizing the challenge will help open the floodgates.  Though I do find myself wondering how many times I need to be reminded that I have to get out of my own way before it starts to stick.

So this months post, basically, boils down to explaining why you won’t find an article by me in the Insecure Writers Support Group anthology (though when it is put together I most certainly will be spreading the word to everyone!)

I hope I can start pushing beyond that block.  Stop holding myself to some huge “amazing” expectation, instead recognize that simply writing in the first place is pretty awesome.

[Edit:  Thanks to all the support below, this post has been revised and submitted for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology.  Thank you all!]


IWSG badge

 This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

20 thoughts on “Get Outta My Way! Pushing Past Amazing

  1. There are times when we’re all our worst enemies. Don’t let it get you down. When you st in front of your WIP with no ideas, maybe your well is dry. Try reading more or watching movies. Refill the well. Best of luck.

    Like

    1. In this case I don’t think it’s a matter of refilling the well (though that is certainly a problem sometimes, I’ve started to be able to recognize the signs, and have been doing a lot of watching movies, reading, enjoying art and nature, and all those things that refill my well) as much as over-thinking. Convincing myself that what I write next on the WIP needs to be spectacular — when really it just needs to be SOMETHING, then I can edit and make it more solid. It’s hitting a point where plot decisions have to be made, and so I balk, because I place the weight of everything on those decisions. So, letting go and just letting myself write, is what has to happen.
      Thanks! πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Hi Eclecticalli! I’m visiting as one of the IWSG co-hosts today. I think you have a post for the IWSG anthology ~ and you still have time to get it in. Your message on Amazing touches something many of us deal with. Chop out the third and second to last paragraphs and say you WILL get beyond that block! Then submit it! What have you got to lose? I struggle with perfection every day, so Do It! and inspire me, inspire us! Here’s the link: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-guide-to-publishing-and-beyond.html
    You go Girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not having a favorite author that I actually want to emulate (I mean, I adore Victor Hugo, and Ann Rinaldi, and Patricia Wrede but I don’t want to sound like any of them… wouldn’t mind sounding like Carlos Ruiz Zafon but don’t imagine I ever will), I think may be part of the problem… I want to be amazing AND unique. Hard to live up to lofty goals like that when you don’t even actually know what they look like πŸ™‚
      When I find myself slipping into comparisons though, I do go back to that quote — it is a good one.
      Thanks!

      Like

  3. You have ‘amazingly’ summed up my current writing situation as well. You’re right, the only thing to do is just go for it and edit later. Easier said than done but absolutely necessary. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

    1. You’re welcome! Now… to stick to my own advice… words came slower today during my lunch-break-writing time than they normally do — but they came, which is a huge improvement over the last few days!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t see why you couldn’t submit this piece. It has an important message that other writers would benefit from. I’m glad I read it because I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to be amazing and end up doing nothing because I intimidate myself.

    Like

    1. Thanks… I think I will be submitting it (after encouragement!)
      It can be so hard to figure out how to get out of our own way — One of the things I’ve loved about IWSG is that everyone really helps with that process. (this post being a perfect example!)

      Like

  5. I’m the same way. Because of the pressure, I think it just makes it harder to write. During those times, I just step back, accept that it’s not going to happen, and then try to find the joy in the creating again, instead of the looming deadline or whatever. It works most of the time anyway.

    Like

    1. Actually, I think it’s one of the challenges is success pushes the bar higher. I have gotten things in print, and plenty of positive feedback, but that does little to temper the setting of that bar, if anything it makes me put more pressure on my next work. I can ALWAYS do better, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. It’s much more a matter of getting out of my own way, reminding myself that I am the one setting the ridiculous levels, putting the undue pressure on myself that becomes debilitating.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.