I just finished ironing some of the clothes I am about to pack to take on our cruise and land tour of Alaska. One of my daughters was aghast that I would bother to iron before the clothes were stuffed into our suitcases, where they will certainly grow new wrinkles no matter how carefully I roll and fold them.
It goes against my grain to perform anything less than to perfection. Just the thought of packing a pair of unironed pants with wrinkles sends waves of revulsion through me. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. (But as a writer I am entitled–no, encouraged–to hone my exaggeration skills.)
The need for perfection is a known cause of procrastination for writers. “Perfectionist paralysis” is defined by Urban Dictionary as “the inability to start on…any creative task due to the fear of not getting it perfectly right.” Yup, that’s me. And it’s not limited to starting a project, I’ve found. Revision is also included in that category.
But I’m working on it. I’d love to finish that novel I started in 1986.
Four of us from my writing group have committed to join the July Camp NaNoWriMo, similar to the November NaNoWriMo (a 50,000 word novel in 30 days), except in July we have more flexibility with our projects. We are going to use our weekly “pinky swears” as our projects. For the past week, as I’ve been trying to return to sleep after my early morning jaunt to the bathroom, I’ve been laying in bed pondering my project. I think that’s a good start. After all, I still have two weeks to prepare.
One of my writing group members asked if I would get much writing done on my trip. I plan to keep a journal. But beyond that I know without a doubt that my fiction will flounder. I expect to be too enamored by glaciers and fjords, hopefully even some whales and grizzlies, to focus on Claire, Anne, Olivia, and Emily.
And it’s very likely that I’ll be too busy to notice the wrinkles.