When I was a senior in college, I took a Career Readiness course. We covered resumé writing and interview skills, took interest inventories and career assessments.
(One such assessment told me I should be a florist or a flight attendant. I hate tight spaces and can’t keep plants alive under the best of circumstances. But okay.)
One thing that stayed with me was this: in a job interview, always turn your weaknesses into strengths.
(I watch endless hours of television might be reframed as I am well-versed in pop culture. For example. That’s a job I could get on board with…)
In every job interview I’ve ever had, I’ve been asked to assess my own strengths and weaknesses. I have always listed perfectionism as a weakness.
“I am a perfectionist. I have to make sure that everything is at its best before I put it out there. I think it’s a weakness because I take my time to create things.”
I never actually believed this was a weakness until long after I was done interviewing for jobs.
I thought it was a strength, and that I was being modest.
But it is a weakness.
Actually, I’m going to reframe that. It is a set of very human thoughts.
My work has to be good enough.
I have to be good enough.
This isn’t good enough.
In my life, perfectionism has manifested itself as tendency to not try things if I know I won’t be good at them right away.
In my writing, it shows up in two ways:
I called out my perfectionism for what it was doing in my life about three years ago, when I heard a life coach say “try doing B-minus work.”
In other words, do the work, turn it in, and move on.
Do this over and over and over.
Because if you are a perfectionist, what you think is B-minus work will probably be just right.
In the mind of a perfectionist, the A+ is unreachable. It is never good enough.
So allow your stories to be B-minus for a while.
Write them, put them out there, and move on.
It’s how we become writers.
And our stories are already perfect.