In your writing, how often do you say “this is not good enough”? Is your perfectionism getting in the way of publishing your book?
If you often find yourself stuck because you think your work is “not good enough”, this message is for you. I hope this encourages you as it did me.
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Perfectionism: A Writer’s Biggest Obstacle
As an author coach, I’ve seen that the biggest obstacles faced by authors are the obstacles in their mind. They struggle mindset issues, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, and the list goes on and on.
One of the biggest obstacles facing writers is perfectionism. Perfectionism is an unending and debilitating loop that gets lost in the details and loses sight of the big picture.
I love the way Julia Cameron says this,
“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves – the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”
Did you catch that? She said, “It’s not a quest for the best.”
So, many writers come to me and say, “But Shelley, I want my book to be the best it can be!”
Yes, I want your book to be the very best it can be too! But what I’ve found in working closely with authors is that many times perfectionists want to create a finished, finally, perfected, and polished draft the first time.
I want to remind you; your first draft is never your final draft. Your first draft is just the beginning, and any author will tell you that their first draft was probably not that great. It takes a lot of self-editing, and then we hire professional editors to help us.
I want you to hear this. “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves…”
It says that we are not good enough and that “we should try again.”
Perfectionism: Another Voice for Shame
Perfectionism is nothing but another voice for shame.
Shame says, “I’m not good enough. I shouldn’t try. Why am I even doing this writing thing? Why am I even trying to write a book? Who am I? I’m fooling myself, who am I? What am I doing? I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not a writer.”
Have you ever said any of those things to yourself before?
I hear it all the time from writers or those aspiring writers. At the very beginning, the enemy wants to stop us. There is going to be resistance when we write, and one of the things that want to stop us is perfectionism. It’s the thinking that we have to have that perfect first draft, or we have to have a perfect book.
You know what? There are New York Times Best Sellers that I still find little mistakes in. In this side of Heaven, it’s not going to be possible to have a 100% perfect book.
Yes, you can do the very best you can, and I teach you those steps in Author Audience Academy. I share the steps to create a book that you can be proud of in Author Audience Academy. I share that with you, and all of the different steps that it’s going to take. But still, it’s not possible to have 100% perfectionism.
Perfectionism: It is a Battle
It is possible to overcome perfectionism. I see it as almost like flipping a switch.
God showed me a picture one time and said,
“Shelley, it’s like you’re in this dark room, and you feel like you’re all alone, you’re all by yourself, and you don’t know what you’re doing.” You feel like, “I have to do it, it’s up to me.”
Have you ever felt that pressure? Then God showed me;
“Shelley, all you have to do is flip the light switch and see that I am there in the room with you. Shelley, it’s my war room.”
Basically, when someone is in a battle, in a war, there’s a war room, and He has the resources I need. God has the strategy I need. He has everything that we need if we’ll just ask Him.
So, when you’re stuck, and you’re a follower of Christ, all you need to do is flip that switch and know that He is with you.
This is a battle. There is a very real enemy that wants to stop you. He wants to stop you from writing. He wants to stop you from sharing your voice and sharing your message of hope.
It applies even to doing Facebook Live. How many of you have ever wanted to go Live on Facebook but feel that nervousness and are like, “no,” or “it’s not the right time, the lighting’s not right, or this isn’t right.” Has anyone ever done that?
How many of you have unfinished manuscripts on your hard drive right now where you got stuck, you stopped, and you said, “I don’t know what to do?” How many of you have unfinished manuscripts on your computer right now?
If you never click that publish button, you will never allow that message to be shared with the world.
God gave me a powerful picture yesterday. It’s a sea of faces, all different colors, and nations, waiting for the books that you will publish. They are waiting for the message that you will share in your books.
He’s using me to give birth to those books through Author Audience Academy, through the training that I do. He’s using you to share your voice and to share your message.
There is someone waiting for your message, and it’s not a message of guilt. It’s a message of freedom.
I was speaking to an artist and a creative last weekend. I was at a Mastermind, and I told her the picture that God just gave me of her. She’s so talented, so gifted, but she’s been in this box trying to fit into this box.
So I said, “I just see a picture of you expanding into all that God has created you to be, into all the gifts he’s given you.”
What if each one of us would push the sides of the box away? Get rid of the box and say, “I’m going to expand into all that God has for me. I’m not going to hold back anymore. I’m going to move forward.”
One of the steps to doing that is flipping the switch. You have to change that mindset of perfectionism. It’s not a quest for the best. It’s actually a pursuit of the worst. It’s another voice of shame. It’s the enemy trying to stop you.
I want you to get unstuck. Share your voice. Share your message with the world, and get to that place where you have a book that you’re proud of and you click the publish button!
Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share the keynote speech that I gave at Writers on the Rock called, Write Now. I will be sharing that here on my Facebook page live for you all. I really believe it’s a message that so many of you need to hear.
I’m still scheduling it and figuring out the dates, but I will let you know soon when that will be. I can’t wait to share that entire message with you. For now, I want to pray over you, and those of you that are dealing with perfectionism.
God, thank You so much, right now, for every writer, for every author, for every creative that’s listening right now or watching the replay. I thank You for their life, for the gifts that You have given to them, for the uniqueness of their story, their voice, their message, and what they have to share with the world.
I just pray, right now God, that You would remove any obstacles related to perfectionism in Jesus’ name. I pray that, just like extra strength Drano, You would apply that on any blockages, anything that’s stopping them, in Jesus’ name, – that they would feel that creative flow once again.
I pray that they would begin writing on a consistent basis once again, that they would get out those unfinished manuscripts and finish the work, finish the book, and finish what You have called them to finish.
I pray that You would give them wisdom on what is it that they’re to finish or not to finish? Some of those manuscripts are not to be finished, but Lord, give them wisdom. If You’ve called them to create this book, to finish this book, Lord I pray that You would help them to do this work. You would empower them so that it would be in Your strength.
When we are weak, You are strong. So, I just pray right now for the light switch to come on for so many people right now – that they would see that they’re not alone and that You are with them. You are in the room with them right now and You have all the resources, the strategies, and the maps.
You have everything that they need to finish writing this book. I just pray that You would empower them to do that in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you so much for being here. I would love to hear any ah-ha moments and any takeaways from this. I would also love to hear where you are stuck.
Where else are you stuck today? How can I help you?
I want to start doing these live training more often, and they also will be on my podcast. I want to start doing things like this more often, so I want to know, what’s going to help you.
Where are you stuck, what do you need? What do you want to hear more about? Do you like these kinds of Facebook Live messages? Do you like these kinds of training? Or what kind of training do you want from me?
I’m so glad that you tuned in today, and until next time. Thank you so much for being here, and I cannot wait to see what God does in and through your life.
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