Today I watched a video from a favorite writer and she shared how she avoided perfectionism when she first started her blog. She committed to writing for an hour each morning and to immediately hit the publish button at the end of that time. Whatever was there was up and able to be read. No reading it over and over, making countless revisions or spending just a few extra minutes trying to get just the right SEO. No long-term goals, just being in the moment and showing up to share her insides on the outside.
I watched that video 5 hours ago and have been procrastinating opening this laptop since that time. Last night I was bursting with creativity and couldn’t wait for an unplanned day to do a lot of writing. Then I watched that video this morning and have been in an excited panic since then.
What if I did that? What if I set a timer and wrote and then hit the publish button at the end no matter what was on the screen? I have to do that. It feels right. It feels freeing. But it feels scary as hell.
So that’s what I decided to do. 30 minutes of writing and that’s it. After that no edits. I will give myself another 15-30 minutes to add some images and links, share on social media and send an email to my subscribers. But when that timer goes off, there will not be any changes to the words.
A while ago I wrote to those on my email list that I felt convicted to share more unpolished writing. To allow more of my authenticity to shine through and quit making so many edits and taking so long to hit the publish button. This was after taking a long hiatus from writing because it stopped being life-giving for me. It took me a while to figure out why and how writing went from being a decade old passion to eliciting enough anxiety to keep me away from it.
I REALIZED IT WAS FEAR.
I was so worried about what you all would think of me if I opened up more and allowed more of my insides to be seen and heard on the outside. I have spent my entire life worrying about that.
One time in middle school I was on a big class trip to Toronto. We went to see The Phantom of the Opera and got to the Eaton Centre. Oh my gosh, this was a BIG deal. I was so excited and had the perfect outfit all ready to go. In one of the stores, I was trying to discreetly check myself out in a three-way mirror just to make sure I was appearing well to anybody who saw me. I thought this was just the way to quiet the screaming whisper inside yelling that I must present well, I must be accepted.
Instead of silencing the internal storm, the winds picked up. Apparently I am not slick. Throughout my life I have tried to be and often thought I have succeeded, but I am finally convinced that I have not ever been nor ever will be smooth.
OK, back to the story………. One of my friends came up behind me and uttered these words that still ring in my ears more than 25 years later,
Checking yourself out? You look fine.
I feel the nervous butterflies in my stomach right now as I type this. I just checked my phone, seven more minutes on my timer until my writing time is over. Seven more minutes until I hit the publish button and these words are out there for people to read. I’m not kidding when I tell you I am starting to have some mild hot flashes right now. My palms and feet are getting a little sweaty. This is no joke. In fact, it’s actually scary as hell.
The timer just went off. That damn duck. I literally jumped and then felt a wave of heat flow through my body. This is it, here we go.