Being a professional writer means continually writing content, week by week, month by month. Sometimes, the pressure to write, write, write can become overwhelming, especially if you begin to wonder if what you’re writing is any good. When this happens, you may face burnout and, even worse, writer’s block.
As with any craft, the things holding writers back often have nothing to do with the act of writing itself. As Darren Rowse notes, overwhelm and fear typically are what keep him from writing. “I can get stuck when I have so many ideas that I can’t decide what to do first,” Rowse says. “Fear is also a big one for me. I worry what other people will think of me, how I’ll sound, how I’ll come across, what might happen if I make a mistake, and so on.”
I can certainly relate to those things. Perfectionism can be just as debilitating. When I want something to be “perfect,” I often end up not starting the project at all because I worry I won’t be able to meet my own expectations.
Rowse argues, though, that imperfection creates more satisfying work than any perfect work ever could. “Imperfect action gets things done. It’s what separates the dreamers from those who accomplish great things,” he states. He then lists five benefits of taking imperfect action. In essence, getting started and learning as you go will create more rewards than simply waiting until the ideal moment when the stars align.
That doesn’t lessen the fear of failure, though. Even when I jump in and get started, a little voice in the back of my mind asks continually if I’m doing the right thing. I am often more than a little tempted to stop altogether.
But Rowse has an answer for that, too, in another article. “If you’ve never failed then you’ve probably stayed in your comfort zone,” he notes. “And the fact you’re holding back means you’ll never know just how successful you can be.”
You’ll never know just how successful you can be. That’s something I doubt any of us want to experience or believe.
Rowse’s second article lists six ways to overcome failure. As we move ahead with our imperfect actions, let’s take to heart the advice he gives. Failure can be difficult, but not trying can be even worse.