Embracing imperfection

3 November 2014

As I wrote on Friday, I’m writing a novel this month. This is my third novel. I do it for the fun of the challenge.

When I was writing my 1700 words this morning, I found myself doubting the quality of my work. Was this plot stupid? Was the writing sophisticated enough? Is this a waste of time? Then I realized it didn’t matter. What’s important here is that I meet my goal and write 50,000 words in 30 days. The quality of the words is neither here nor there.

That got me thinking about how liberating it is to embrace imperfection. When you let go of the how great the outcome will be, you can really make some progress. If I were trying to write the Great American Novel and finish with something I could hand off to a reader without further editing, I’d never get the darned thing done. Especially not in a single month. And, truly, I’m not interested in spending more than month writing fiction. I have a life to live and a business to run simultaneously.

As it is, I’ll end the month with a first draft that I can polish up later, if I so desire. And I’ll have met my goal. And, as I know from past experience, it’ll feel great.

The beauty of imperfectionism applies to much more than speedy novel writing. So many of my organizing clients are perfectionists. They want to find the best way to organize their homes. Or the best possible charities to receive their discards. Or the perfect way to store their belongings.

But when you pursue perfection, it can be hard to complete a project. Or even start one. Letting go of perfect allows you to get started and make progress. If you tend to be a perfectionist and it’s holding you back, I suggest you just do something toward your goal. Anything.

I love the expression “Don’t let perfect get in the way of done.” That’s true in organizing projects, in novel writing, and in life. A life lived imperfectly is better than a life lived waiting for the perfect time to do something.

This month as I make progress toward completing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, I’m definitely embracing imperfection. And I’m going to try to apply that philosophy to other areas of my life.

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Comments

I have never considered myself a perfectionist Janine, but I continue to find myself suffering from “perfection paralysis!” I’m convinced whatever I want to accomplish will not turn out like I hope and so I never begin. I’m that girl who wants the perfect storage solution or perfect charity….. Your article has inspired me to just begin!! Thanks!

Karen Liggett 04/19/2016 05:53 PM

Hooray, Karen! Truly, letting go o perfect is one of the best things you can do for yourself!

Janine Adams 04/19/2016 05:57 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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