Writers are creative thinkers. Just like any other people working in the creative field, we often have perfectionist tendencies. Consequently, we often have issues with liking our own work.
You think you have a clear picture of what you want to write, but when you are looking back at what is there, it leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction leads to a loss of confidence and motivation, and then you put it down for who knows how long.
Some writers end up fearing this point, finding every excuse to avoid writing more. But let me then you this: the writing process has only just begun at this point.
When your perfectionist tendencies push you into a creative rut.
“The story doesn’t flow well!”
“The characters aren’t popping out.”
“It is riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies!”
“Did I write this crap?”
These are all your own perfectionist tendencies that are pushing you into a creative rut. They’re holding you back from your writing. But all the things you’re worried about like the examples I gave above are perfectly okay. Writing can be a messy procedure as you collect your thoughts. What you envision in an outline or character sheet or any numerous tools one uses to prepare—the jump from idea to story is always a challenge.
After you’ve finished the first draft of your writing, don’t stop thinking. You are far from done at this point. Let the ideas continue to brew in your mind. Go about your day with them tickling you every so often.
Writing is all about experience—what one encounters, perceives, and imagines through the normal activities that you do. Ideas are sparked at the strangest of moments during these times, often when access to writing material is out of reach.
Personally, I keep a small notebook in my possession, in which I make little notes throughout the day.
Perhaps, a particular scene from a movie or book resounds strongly with your writing. Maybe, you’ll run into a bit of scenery that perfectly sets up the imagery that you were trying to depict. Regardless, your mind connects various sensations to your lingering thoughts, adding depth to them.
The nonsensical ramblings of children, unbounded by reason, can offer a bit of humor that you won’t otherwise come up with.
The taste of a fine wine makes you feel like standing up and giving a toast to the imaginary characters in your novel.
Getting out of your car, your neighbor’s dog turns the corner and sprints after you, giving you the urge to run away like rabid wolves chasing you. Or if you are a dog lover instead, this translates to a heart-warming scene of it valiantly reuniting with you after being separated for a time.
The life one lives and the interactions one makes contribute to the writing in unimaginable ways, despite hardly paying attention to them.
Get out of your creative rut by letting your writing brew.
So, don’t be afraid to write down something, anything at first, knowing that it will be far from your expectations. Don’t let your perfectionist tendencies deter you from writing more. Do the things you need to do while keeping it in the back of your mind. Jot down your feelings and details so you don’t forget them. And after a certain period, re-read that draft with the notebook in hand.
Naturally, you will find places to fill in, events to change, and details that you never thought to put before. The writing has steeped in your thoughts and becomes richer, thicker, and more refined.
And as with every batch of new tea or coffee (or whatever you prefer), it may take a few attempts to get it perfect to suit your taste. And even then, it may not come out the same each time.
Still, your writing deserves more than a quick steep. Let it brew. Get the most out of your pinch of ideas.