Why perfectionism kills creativity… and one small way to avoid it

The Curious People

At Brain Pickings, one of my favorite blogs, Maria Popova has an excellent post about Anne Lamott’s advice from her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

Popova, summarizing Lamott, says that in writing,

“there is no room for perfectionism. (Neil Gaiman famously advised, ‘Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.’, and David Foster Wallace admonished, ‘If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.’) Lamott cautions: ‘Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out…

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