Monday, October 8, 2012

3 Deadly P's: Pressure to Perform Perfectly

When I was a child, I was not told that practice made perfect.
I was told, by my piano teacher (and subsequently every other teacher/instructor I ever had), that
perfect practice makes perfect.

While I'm sure my teacher's intention was rather innocent and was meant only to encourage me to actually practice, rather than roll around on the bench and play my songs once through as fast as I could, I think that over the years I've internalized those words to the point where the pressure to be perfect in all stages has really begun to overwhelm me. 
So, instead of doing what I love, I panic. I talk about it. I think about it. I imagine how great being perfect will be... but I end up with zilch, nada, zero, nothing, because I've put so much pressure to perform perfectly on myself that I fail to perform.
I didn't even realize I felt this way until I found this wonderful Disney quote. I don't know why it didn't hit me until I read it that my beloved Disney and the most magical place on earth was one big, fat, messy concept at one point. It was a dream that needed only to be pursued.

I'm a writer.
I write.
Sometimes I write really crappy things. 
Sometimes I misspell things.
Sometimes I'm my own worst critic. 
I need to remember that I need to get over the illusion of "perfect practice" and just do what I love just because I love it.
Because you know what?
The longer I live, the more I realize that perfect doesn't exist. Instead, I'm realizing that there is an endless string of wonderful options, in life and in writing, and we need only choose one.

This may be TMI for you, but I suspect that at least someone else out there feels the same way. 
Can I get an amen?
What do you need to be doing?

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