I’m a terrible perfectionist.* The worst kind. I find the desire for perfection so great and the prospect of perfection so distant that I seize up and end up feeling lazy. Then I panic. My perfectionism causes all sorts of problems for my writing, but it can help as well. My attention to detail makes me a better editor and proofreader, for instance. (And here’s where I cross my fingers that I haven’t left any typos in this post.) But to really make progress in my writing, I have to fool myself out of my perfectionistic tendencies and only allow them space at certain times in the writing process.
Does perfectionism play a role in your writing? Is it a help? A hindrance? A monster you need to tame? What are your strategies for handling and using perfectionism? If you don’t tend toward perfectionism, what benefits do you gain? Would perfectionism be useful at all?*I got to thinking about this topic because of a post at Study Hacks this week.
As usual, please check in by noon Monday, but feel free to continue the conversation beyond then. Check in format: 1) Goals, 2) Accomplished, 3) Analysis, 4) Goals for next week, 5) optional Next check in date, if you’ll miss a week or two or three.
Here you go:
Amstr [complete dissertation draft]: 1) type of Ch. 3 revisions and fix the 9 things left, 2) draft half of Ch. 1 (cutting and pasting lots), 3) do research on three areas of Ch. 1, 4) work at work time + 2 evenings
Becky [journal article]: ?
Contingent Cassandra [full draft of J article by 8/24; make progress on P projects; continue freelance work]: Continue progress on the J article; prepare and give P project presentation; plan and conduct a day of P-project archival research (and network with people at the presentation); do some preliminary research/writing for the next 2 freelance pieces (but concentrate mainly on J, P, and household/financial projects). (next check-in 8/3)
Daisy [finish thesis]: make a list of everything that each paper still needs, and pick something every day and do it. And up the 2 hours of writing to 4.
DEH [finish and submit MMP and article]: print out, proofread and polish the companion-essay, and submit it. Return to the MMP, see where I am with it, make a plan, and carry out some part of that plan. Spend at least 2 hours on the translation project.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell [book chapter proposal; writing 4 days/week]: Write an hour and a half four days a week.
emmawriting [EOCP full draft sent to collaborator, MC paper results section done, MUL data collected, MC5 fully prepped]: EOCP: Outline Discussion; Continue to review articles, & write notecards or brief summaries to put into Intro draft; write some draft sections of Intro, at least 1 paragraph. MCP: Finish draft writeup of MC3, figure out problem. Analyze MC 4
GEW [short draft of new chapter (10 pages)]: Finish reading the article.
humming42 [complete book MS]: work at least a half hour each day on the manuscript and on one of the September projects.
JaneB [chip away at writing backlog]: write a conference abstract and a four page Application For Workshop Session (next check-in 7/27 or 8/3)
jenk [good draft of main project; figures + results of side project]: ? 2/3 of Figures + captions. More work on the results. (Reminder to self to have something to show the adviser at the beginning of next week.)
Kirstin [rough draft of journal article]: ? Finish WYJA week 3, start week 4
luolin88 [finish and submit journal article; submit 2nd ms to new journal]: 1/2 hour editing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Matilda [2 of 4: paper, 3 presentations]: new plan to November and a few years ahead/an article proposal
NWGirl [revise 2 papers for publication]: Submit article #1 to selected journal. Work on structure for article #2. And start on class prep.
rented life [2 solid book chapters]: Continue with 10 min a day of writing.
Sapience [complete diss; plan for one project for fall]: finish this round of proofreading in preparation for sending the whole thing off to someone else for a good look (next check-in 7/27).
tracynicolerose [draft of TS and analysis for BE]: Look at the data for the TS findings; read for the LM paper
Trapped in Canadia [2 diss. chapters; 1 turned into edited book ch.]: ???