I've been reading a lot of A to Z retrospective posts lately. Most of them sound something like this: "I screwed up and missed a day or two. I was overly ambitious with my theme. I feel like I've been on a month-long acid trip, I now wear bifocals, a clump of my hair fell out in the shower from the stress, and I have seizures every time my child sings his A,B,C's... but I had fun."
I've done A to Z a grand total of one time and that was enough to make me sympathize with you. It is fun. You meet crazy amounts of people. But it can totally deplete your blogging and social media mojo. Like for months.
It's especially hard on people who strive for perfection, or are just really serious about doing a good job. Which, DING DING DING you guessed it, includes most of us writer types.
You don't write for publication if you aren't driven to prove yourself--maybe just to you. Getting a story from concept to polished and shareable is grueling work. You have to care. Lots. It may sound harsh, but the people who don't care just don't last long in this business.
As part of that caring we often shoot for perfection. Or what we perceive to be perfection. Why put that pressure on ourselves? Because it's seemingly all everyone around us does.
Those annoyingly perfect bloggers that never miss a day, have ALL the followers, and share stuff so important that you never miss a post even though you secretly despise them. The authors who publish a new book every month and have one-hundred 5 star reviews two weeks before the book even drops. Those social media gurus who rack up follows and retweets like a dog collects fleas. The writer who just signed a six-figure deal for her first novel that isn't even finished and is exactly like the book you just read, just with angels instead of vampires, and were-monkeys instead of wolves.
They're perfect. Their lives are perfect. I bet if we went over to their house right now we'd find a Lexus with a bow on it in the driveway, their 2.5 kids playing hopscotch in the street with no traffic, and a labrador and kitten frolicking with deer in the front yard. It's enough to make you gag, but it shouldn't...
My fellow indies and insecure writers, I'm here to let you in on a little secret: It's total BS. Perfection is a myth. ESPECIALLY in the writing business.
We are ALL fraught with worry that our last story was indeed our last. We all set up at night wondering what the heck we're going to blog about tomorrow, or if we even want blog again at all. We all have days and weeks go by without writing a thing and are embarrassed by it because we call ourselves writers. We all watch television, Facebook, and Tweet when we should be reading something that will help us get better. We all have a backlog of manuscripts from friends we need to read and critique, but barely have time to sleep, so we keep putting them off. We all get bad reviews. We all have to answer to relatives we love who ask the, "When will you have something published?" questions. We all blush when we're truthful about how much time we put into this stuff and how little money we make in return. We all wish we did it for something other than money, but secretly know we'd sure like to make some money, too. We are all sick of rejection, and are ashamed by the number of dead manuscripts we have lying in the 'graveyard hard drive'. We all regret a few queries we hit 'send' on prematurely, a few blog posts we've published in anger, and the friends we've let down or lost touch with along the way to wherever we're at. We all reach a point where we want to give up.
So I guess I'm asking for everyone to let go of that perfection goal for a little while. (Doesn't have to be forever.) It's lofty and unattainable in your writing and in your life. It's okay to miss blog posts, to fail to promote a friend because you forgot, and to not write for a few days. Heck, it might even be a healthy dose of perspective.
And speaking of missing blog posts! My apologies to my IWSG friends for missing last Wednesday's monthly go-round. I have no excuse other than life swept me away. I'll do better next month, and know that you heavily inspired today's post. :)
Click the buttons to learn all about the Indie Life group and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. They are full of fantastic folks, and you won't regret joining up.