I have been a web designer for four years, a writer since high school and a crafter since who knows when. But in the past few weeks I feel like I just learned how to write and craft for the first time.
I have this perfection issue. I think that when I write or make something it has to come out “right” the first time. This doesn’t really happen to me during working hours with web design because our websites go through rounds. It is expected that there will be layout modifications especially since there are usually more than three people involved. It’s not often but every once in a great while, a sketch will be approved on the first round. (This always leaves me with an eyebrow-raised, suspicious feeling.)
Most of my personal work stalls from paralysis. I don’t know how to move forward or where to start and I can never see the middle steps. I just see the blank screen/paper/canvas in front of me and the end. Or what I hope the end will look like.
I bought a magazine on a whim recently. (Let me note here that I buy magazines on whims quite frequently. QUITE frequently) It was published by Writer’s Digest. They must know something. The magazine was Writing Basics and it actually helped. The advice I followed was from the article "Rough Up Your First Draft" by Elizabeth Sims. It was this simple: just start writing. Anything – write whatever comes to your mind. You can even write the same sentence three difference ways if it comes to you in three different ways; sort it out later! And wouldn’t you know it? I wrote five pages in two days while on the bus to work. That’s probably more than I have written in two years! I felt liberated from the confinements of perfection! Now comes the hard part: keep writing because the secret to writing is apparently… to write! Yes, really. It’s that “simple”.
The other break-through was in the craft department. I wanted to create a mini scrapbook album for my friend’s baby shower. Another magazine buying whim turned out to be just what I needed. It was called “mini albums”, published by scrapbook TRENDS. I didn’t even realize there was a whole mini-album trend in the scrapbooking world (I don’t scrapbook). So this little magazine featured a template drawn up by a Jennifer Gallacher that she uses for most of her mini albums. A sketched out template. I had never thought of that. I really felt very silly. There it was, staring me down again. My need for perfection, to do it right the first time without thinking it through or having a plan. So I thank you very much oh scrapbooking trends and Ms. Gallacher for saving me from my perfection confinement. I now have a solid plan for the mini album and have sketched out each page of it to boot! woo hoo!