A familiar story: perfectionism, inactivity, and movement

My process for the first draft, if you remember, was designed to suppress my perfectionist tendencies. But when I finished that draft in November and began the second (without those safeguards) the beast of perfectionism reared its head. I revised and rewrote and revised the first chapter until just short of my own premature death, and it was exhilarating! But the euphoria ended with the second chapter.

What did wonders for a week had soon fizzled out, and perfectionism became paralysis. Trapped by a single problematic idea with no clear answer, I did nothing. The holidays came and went. January and February zipped by. A long period of agonizing about my inactivity was followed by an even longer period of not thinking about it at all.

Then in March one morning, without any prelude of intent, I awoke with an idea for the novel and renewed purpose. Since then I’ve worked steadily, mostly firming up the foundational elements of the story, which is why you haven’t noticed much movement on the old thermometer over there. It’s just not the kind of progress the old progress meter is good at measuring (it has its blind spots), but progress has been made. I swear.

That foundational business behind me, along with a certain redesigning of my second draft processes, I’ve begun what will surely be a highly productive cycle. Expect noticeable progress in the coming weeks. The kind the progress bar will show.

2 thoughts on “A familiar story: perfectionism, inactivity, and movement

  1. You’ve removed both the letter and the diary, spun the first chapter off into a future screenplay idea, and written in the love affair between a man and his cat, haven’t you.


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