I settle into my writing routine as soon as the deadline is set.
“I don’t have the energy to do this today,” I say to myself. “But it’s fine. Maybe I’ll have the energy tomorrow.”
But I don’t.
Soon, the deadline is looming, and I’ve locked myself away just so I can finish. If I had a first draft to work with, I could have been using this time to polish my work with re-reads. Now, I hardly have enough time to finish one pass before the deadline closes. I curse my procrastination and vow to be more disciplined next time.
But I’m not.
I resign myself to this never-ending cycle of procrastination, stress, and regret.
“Done is better than good,” my friend texts me, and the cycle is broken.
As I tap my frustration into my phone, she explains that perfectionism is standing in my way. The desire to do well can lead to stagnation when success isn’t assured. My friend reminds me that most writing goes through several rounds of editing. I need to make room to make mistakes.
This idea is something that’s far from unheard of. Experts have long written about the necessity of letting first drafts be rough. The next time I embark on a writing project, I make the goal just to get my first draft done. I forget whether my writing is “good.”
My first time feels awkward. I’m not used to writing without expectations, but I get something written. Since my goal was to put anything down, I’ve already been successful, and I’m inspired enough to keep going.
The trap of perfectionism can still sneak up on me sometimes. Now, when I feel the pull of procrastination, I remind myself that “done is better than good” and let myself be free.
Virtual Writing Center Staff