This week is trying to eat me alive. I feel like I’ve been putting out fires for clients and scrambling to get my team members what they need to do their jobs since I got out of bed Monday morning — but I didn’t really get out of bed, because I had a bug Sunday night through Monday, so I was working from bed all day. Thanks to a big snowstorm followed by a deep freeze, our kindergartener had a late start to school on Monday, a snow day Tuesday, and another late start Wednesday. Even after I was well again, the roads were too treacherous for me to drive to my outside office, so I’ve been working from home all week.
Needless to say, my routines have been out the window and I haven’t gotten much writing done at all.
I did manage to journal a teensy bit each day, which has been keeping me from going totally bananas. And I’ve been hitting my bare minimum word count goal each night for my current works-in-progress (I’m at 15,000 words in Thorns of Summer and almost 5,000 words in Santa Fe Blues now). It doesn’t feel like enough.
That’s life, right? Things happen. We get derailed. I shouldn’t be such a perfectionist.
That’s total bunk.
Keeping my commitments to myself isn’t being a perfectionist.
In fact, I want “perfectionist” to kindly remove itself from my vocabulary, and the vocabularies of everyone around me.
“Perfectionist” has been thrown my way to mean “You think you’re better than me.” It’s been used to diagnose me when I resist sending clients less than the highest quality work, or when I struggle to trust people who chronically miss deadlines. It’s even been tossed at me when I express a desire to make more of this short life.
In other words, perfectionism is an insult.
Spirit. Verve. Commitment. Drive. Motivation. Striving for more from life. These are not about perfectionism, and these are not bad things.
You know what’s bad? Spending 20 years wanting to write books and never doing it because I was told there was no money in it. Writing a blog as a way to move through grief, only to shut it down when I thought people had stopped reading (they had — you can only watch a train wreck for so long). Telling myself that I was not creative, that my artistic hobbies were wastes of time and money, and that I was incapable of writing fiction simply because those things didn’t come as naturally to me as copywriting or writing nonfiction.
Being what others call a perfectionist has helped me overcome huge challenges and move through truly difficult circumstances with a modicum of grace.
Yes, life happens. Yes, we get thrown off track sometimes. But I believe it’s just as honorable to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back on the horse as it is to let yourself off the hook for a while and take a break.
Keeping your commitments to yourself is self care, too.