Ranting about perfection

I’ve always been driven. Even as a kid, I always tried harder. The problem isn’t that I need to try harder, the problem is that I want perfection. I stare at the scene I’ve written and shake my head in despair. Absolute garbage! Delete button, here I go.

I found this article by Joe Bunting titled The Myth of Perfection on The Write Practice. It was actually really helpful because he starts by saying: you’re never going to be perfect. For me, that was great news because it set me free. I can accept it and try to do a good job, not a perfect job.

When I look forward, I get overwhelmed. I think of the odds against me and they seem insurmountable. It helps if I look back. Once, I didn’t speak English. I wrote and didn’t believe I’d ever get published. I’ve written a book, I have another on the works.

Maybe I need to embrace Good Enough and kick Perfection in the butt.

calvin-and-hobbes-2

A little perspective

I have to admit, I’ve done it. I stared at the blog stats until I knew the numbers by heart, then I would check and recheck. The blog became a live entity I needed to keep happy…and, well, I wasn’t miserable but it was close.

I read a post by an author once who was miserable because their eight book wasn’t doing as well as they liked. I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself: If I had eight books published, I wouldn’t be upset, I’d be throwing a party! But then, I thought about it again. Would I be content? Wouldn’t I want that ninth book published? I remember a time when the idea of my being published (one book) was so awesome I couldn’t think of it without bursting into giggles of delight. Now, I want my second book published.

It’s so easy for me to lose perspective….so I loved, loved this post: Are you letting the numbers deflate you? by Sarah Kathleen Peck because she puts it into perspective without telling me to settle for less.

Alexandra Franzen says it another way no less outstanding in this post. Loved it.

Barbara O’Neal redefines success in this great post.

Finally, here‘s a glimpse on what the numbers really look like for writers by Amy Neftzger. It really put things into perspective for me. If Anne Rice had to work during the day to keep the money coming in, then I certainly can as well.

Your lens is creating your world…

Loved this post from James Need. Just fantastic and so empowering. I’m rereading it now and just feeling so peaceful. I loved it. What a wonderful message.

A little gratitude…a whole new perspective

I was at a homeless shelter not that long ago.

Since I’d never been to one before, I had little go on. As usual, the only references I had came from books. In my uninformed, little mind, I figured it had to be better than Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist but would probably be worse than L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

The first shelter was for youth. As in teens. Now, teens can be a handful but this place was bad. Really bad. And, no matter how rude teens can be, they’re also kids.

Forget the graffiti on the walls and the locks on the fridges, it smelled. There were signs posted up for what to do if you had bedbugs and/or head lice and I immediately started to feel itchy. The bedrooms were tiny with lockers crammed inside and bunk beds lining the walls. I counted six before I stopped and left the room. I didn’t see a window. The mattresses were the thickness of gym pads and covered in plastic for easy cleaning. So were the pillows. I was glad we didn’t see their washrooms.

I felt immediately sad. And claustrophobic.

Our tour went on to the Salvation army. Another type of shelter, this time for adults. There we went through the kitchen and onto the living area where we saw another typical bedroom. More signs for bedbugs and lice, more plastic-covered mattresses and pillows. We helped out with lunch. Those who came to eat weren’t scary or crazy, they were average people who had been hit by hard times. They talked to us and told us their stories. They were hoping to get jobs and to reconnect with their families. Some were in transition, going to another province because there was work there. Others were trying to find work here, closer to their loved ones.

They must have seen something in my face, because they started saying jokes and trying to cheer me up. When I saw that they were trying to take care of me, I had to turn away or I’d cry.

I left not caring one iota if my book was number one in Amazon or last on the list. I forgot all about that reno I wanted done in the house and about the winter tires the car needed. I got home and kissed my husband, took the dogs for long walk and told them how wonderful they were (as they drooled around me in delight). Then, I sat at home, stared at our trees and felt so grateful I could have cried again.

I am so grateful that I have a job. That I have a home. That I’m sober. That I have my health. The rest is gravy. I need to remember that.

(credit:lindsaysalvationarmy.ca)

(credit:lindsaysalvationarmy.ca)

Will one of you kick me if I forget? Really. No? How about a shake? Next time I whine about something, just give me a little shake.

I really needed to see those shelters.