Paper Plates

Writing is meant to be fun. Writing is not a struggle, at least, it didn’t used to be. And I think I’ve worked out why. I’ve become a perfectionist. I want something publishable to come out on the first draft. I don’t want to re-draft, I don’t want to have to check for spelling and I don’t want to rewrite a word. Already I have corrected three spellings in this paragraph because I’m getting used to my keyboard.

Childish or innovative?

I’m not allowing myself to enjoy the creative struggle. And I’m certainly not relaxing. I’ve become guilty, telling myself I should be writing, but feeling worried about it, because I know that what I will write is not going to be great at the first try. The ironic thing? I’m not employed full-time as a proof-reader and editor. I’m a really good editor, really. No modesty needed. And I don’t want to edit my own work.

I read somewhere that there were two artists. One created fine pottery and agonized over the details. He produced very little, and found life painful. The other worked with paper plates, and created often, threw a lot away, made master pieces, had a great portfolio AND THREW A LOT AWAY. He re-learnt what we are allowed to do as children. Resources are put in front of us to use, glitter, funny scissors, card, paper and glue. We are allowed to experiment. We learn to draw.

But… as soon as we get older and use materials of a higher quality, our work is expected to be of a higher quality too. At some point my sister decided that she ‘couldn’t draw’ and over the years, I’ve helped her with several assignments. Because I’m not scared to approach a piece of paper with a crayon or a brush. So why am I worried about approaching a keyboard? When words are free? When I don’t even have to use up paper.

I need to set the words free. And it feels good to get this out, even onto my computer. We writers need to be kind, especially to ourselves. Writing can be lonely, and when we see the successes of others, it is easy to be envious. Forgive your spelling mistakes, angers and little passions. This is a promise to myself. To have fun writing. To swap to another project when I need to. To be kind.

Thank you for reading.


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