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Paralysis of Perfection

By Karen H. Richardson

It happens to the experienced and the inexperienced among us. It happens when we least expect it or have time for it. We desire to put words on a page to tell a story, share an emotion, or express some great truth. We have a list of topics and an outline. We want each syllable to be in rhythm and each word to be in the absolute perfect spot. We can hear the tone. But the words don’t come.

Writer’s block is as old an excuse for not writing as the written word itself. Picture the caveman with a chisel and stone ready to go and nothing. The oral stories told round the camp fire are all colliding in his mind, but no words are coming to be set in stone.

Writing prompts are available at our fingertips either through a favorite search engine (I’m a Google gal) or even through subscription. Personally, I like the writing prompts that cross my path in everyday life. Yesterday I was driving in an eclectic part of town and on the side of the road was a man wearing a panda head holding a sign that said “art for sale.” Next to him were a variety of paintings of cartoon characters. The whole scene screamed, “This is a story that needs to be told!” There are plenty of other characters who cross our paths. I challenge you to go to a public place, a mall, a grocery, a park, a church and pick a person. Then just write their story.

With all of these platforms and potential characters available, why are we not bubbling over with manuscripts? Because before we can query, click submit or add to the post, we want it to be perfect. If it can’t be perfect then we don’t want to bother. We forget the magic word – draft. Our standards are high. As Christians wanting to use our God-given talent, we should strive for excellence. Allowing our fear of imperfection to paralyze our writing leaves no room for our great God to work through our words.

Even my attempt at drafting this post took me weeks to finally sit down to do because my audience completely intimidates me. So many of you are more accomplished in our craft. Many more of you have been published. In a very bold moment I replied to the email invitation to submit a post. I had to remember that we all have to start somewhere. We are building our craft. At any point in the writer’s journey, writer’s block can be a problem.

I don’t have a magic potion to cure your paralysis other than to encourage you to just sit down and start writing. Pick something and start writing. In your quest for perfection you’ll find your message. Better yet, you’ll find the message laid on your heart by the One who gave you talent.

khrichardsonKaren H. Richardson lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband and son. She has over 25 years of experience in communications and marketing. In the last six years, Karen has become more focused on improving her writing skills and has drafted her first novel. She has two blogs, www.kkscandor.com and www.karenhrichardson.wordpress.com.

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2 Responses to Paralysis of Perfection

  1. Great article Karen Thanks for the encouragement to go home and just write.

  2. CathyShouse says:

    I appreciate your thoughts on this and your honesty about your feelings on writing this post. Thanks!