It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

When I can’t think of what to write, I generally don’t stare at a blinking cursor. I know everyone says they do that, but I don’t. No blank pages, either. Instead, I just scroll through Facebook endlessly. The result is usually that I find myself ridiculously annoyed by other people and the way they are screaming their opinions into the void. Or, I see someone saying a thing and clearly looking for support and their “friends” just give them a hard time. By the time I’m done, I’m irritated, exhausted, emotionally wrung out, and completely out of time for writing. Mission accomplished?

Sometimes it can seem like everyone has great ideas and I’m the only one with nothing of value to say. Maybe you feel this way, too, sometimes. The longer I go without writing, the more it seems like whatever I do write needs to be amazing. I mean, if I write something ordinary, obviously everyone will be thinking, “She finally comes back and this is what she writes?” Then I wonder if I write something today, when do I have to write again? What if I take a week between posts – is that too long? If I’m just going to fall back into my slump, why bother?

So I had to sit myself down recently for a chat. Here’s what I told myself:

  1. Just write. You have a tattoo on your foot that says that and you read that every day. There’s a reason it’s there. You need to write every day. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  2. You don’t have to show anyone what you write. Some pieces are private. Some are just to keep your brain on the right path. Brain dumps can be good for the soul but they don’t have to made public.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Just completely stop. Yes, some people write more often. Some are better than you. Some write more AND they are better. Who cares?
  4. There are good excuses and bad excuses. Be honest with yourself about the kind of excuses you’re making right now.
  5. All those things you say to other writers, encouraging them and supporting them? Say those things to yourself.
  6. Go write something.

It’s possible I wrote all that out just for me, but it’s also possible you needed to hear this today, too.

I haven’t checked Facebook in 8 minutes, so let me go get back to it. Will I see you on the grid this week? I hope so.

Nonfiction Know-How: Tutorials

How often have you heard “the best way to learn a thing is to teach it?” This month’s Nonfiction Know-How focuses on a specific type of essay – tutorials – and how to show the lessons beneath the lessons to your audience. Get your Nonfiction Know-How right here.

How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:

Basic YeahWrite guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry;
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid;
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message;
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge; and
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog.

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…

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About the author:

Michelle submitted her first entry to YeahWrite in March 2012 and they haven’t been able to get rid of her since. After nearly 20 years in the insurance/employee benefits industry, she decided to give it all up to pursue writing full time. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post and xoJane, as well as several local sites near her northern NJ home. She blogs at Michelle Longo.

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