In Jon Acuff’s book FINISH: GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF DONE, he addresses the many ways perfectionism and its accompanying reflection, procrastination, can influence our productivity and sense of well-being. He says that the most important day is the day after you have messed up or broken a streak in a habit you want to create.

The habit I’m working to improve is daily writing. For the last seven years, I have had 100% days of writing and posting a slice of life during the month of March. This is the first year in my eight years of the March SOLSC that I have neglected to write on a day in March. This year, I have already not written three times. I have to pause and ask, “Why did I let that day go by without writing?” Being away from home, playing with grandchildren, and evening fatigue all contributed to my not writing. But I think there was more.

Maybe I didn’t write because I let myself believe I didn’t have anything to say. Maybe I didn’t write because writing can bring up feelings that I’m too afraid to put in print. Maybe I didn’t write because I couldn’t be as clever, as interesting, or as spot on as my fellow slicers.

I used to think that I was the only one who ever felt this way. Now I know that all writers face these questions and challenges at some point in their writing process. What matters is how we respond.

I’m getting back up on the horse today. I’m giving myself the gift of Done and recognizing that no one is asking that I be perfect. No one is requiring that I write like Wallace Stegner or Robert Frost. It’s okay to put words on the page each day, even if they are not amazing words, because someone, somewhere may be needing my words today. Even if it’s only me that needs to write and read them.

Writing daily through the month of March. Thank you to all the leaders at Two Writing Teachers who make this community possible.

10 thoughts on “The Day After Perfect

  1. I needed them. Thank you. First year I haven’t participated. Your writing made me reconsider and perhaps I can post a few this year. Thank you.

  2. As a first year slicer, I so feel this. I read through posts, and think, wow, I’m not even worthy to publish amongst all this greatness! You seasoned writers are so insightful, powerful, reflective. Including this post! Thank you for sharing and for encouraging people like me. I love reading your posts!

  3. You are doing great from what I’ve seen! I wonder what would have happened if I could have started writing at your age. So much potential! You can and will do hard things and do them well!

  4. I do think substituting playing with grandkids instead of writng is OK, too. Often I think of writing as taking time to observe and do. Then I’ll have the moments to write. I appreciate your honesty shared in the 3rd paragraph, too. So real.

  5. You have a very special reason for not writing and you should not feel bad about it. I know you participated in the February poem challenge and I totally failed at that one! I owe Laura an apology. I needed your words today as I have really struggled writing this year, and I am not sure why. But we must continue on!

    1. Thank you for being a supportive friend. I appreciate your comment so much. That poetry challenge was hard! You are working full-time–I’m sure that is your first priority! I can tell that you are an all-in teacher!

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