Are you too critical of your writing?

Recently I had a writing project for a new client, and for some reason I couldn’t churn it out as quickly as I should have. I finally realized my problem. I wanted it to be perfect, and in worrying about that, I was stuck doing nothing.

Does that sound familiar? Are you so critical of yourself and your writing that it holds you back sometimes?

A freelance writing friend of mine told me a similar story. She agonized and agonized over what to write for her client. She went back and forth with him to make sure she was on the right track. The client told her he wanted the piece to be exciting.

Finally she submitted the project, and much to her dismay, the client sent back a correction. He added an exclamation point to one or two lines! That’s it! That’s what he considered editing, and that’s what he considered exciting. There was nothing wrong with her writing, except that she sat on it too long, all because of perfectionism.

The moral? Write it. Just do it. Get past the fear that it won’t be perfect, because, in all likelihood, what you write is fine for your average client. They just want it done.

Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your writing? How do you overcome it (or do you)?

15 Responses to “Are you too critical of your writing?”

  1. Zenobia says:

    You have described one of my greatest problems with writing. I am a true perfectionist. Even when I’ve set my mind to focus on the fact that I am working on a draft, I find myself editing as I go and laboring over the wording of sentences. You hit the nail right on lady. 🙂

    Zenobia’s last blog post..Ain’t I A Woman?

  2. Groove Momma says:

    This is also one of my writing obstacles. I don’t post enough on my blog because of it. I’m still working on some writing samples I could use when answering job ads, so I haven’t applied to any jobs as a result. Thanks for the reminder to Just Do It!

    Groove Momma’s last blog post..When Given Time

  3. Ling says:

    Nice turtle, and I can just picture you sitting on your writing, clucking over it and trying to make it hatch. 🙂

  4. Claudine says:

    Yes. I’ve had that problem before! Sometimes it’s hard to begin the project and then it’s hard to let it go.

    Claudine’s last blog post..On the River in Savannah, Georgia

  5. Hi Theda, I AM too critical of myself sometimes LOL! Usually my best work comes when I’m under pressure or when I just write without too much worrying if it sounds good or not! Thanks for this post. 🙂

    Genie Princess’s last blog post..Awards Gala!

  6. I’ve had this problem for aslong as i can remember, if i do something wrong I’m gonna sit there thinking of it untill i fix it. I have to start correcting myself after im done with something.

  7. I think this problem affects a lot of people. I know I struggle with it also. I find that it really helps just to write something and get it out, without editing it while writing. Then, go get a cup of coffee, take 5 minutes to surf the web, then look at it again with fresh eyes. Often I find what I quickly typed out is not even that bad.

    Highest CD Rates’s last blog post..Wachovia CD Rates

  8. It’s funny to read this because I am the same way. I am overly critical of my writing- so much so that I end up blocked and unable to complete anything.

    Mom on the RIse’s last blog post..My Friends, My Soundtrack

  9. Hi Theda, I wanted to stop by and thank you for dropping an Entrecard on my site. When I log in to my Dashboard I like to go to the websites/blogs and read peoples blogs and leave a comment. I love the name of your site too, I’m an artist so the crayons just spoke to me. As far as being a perfectionist I am with my art but when I wrote my first post I was horrible. I rambled and my grammar was well let’s just say NOW I read,edit and edit and edit then publish.Thanks for the advise just do it!

    jjmomscashblog’s last blog post..Make Money With New Visitors to Your Blog

  10. Monavie says:

    Thanks for the push! I’ve been chewing my nails over writing a new post too. They want funny, and I’m naturally sarcastic but I was scared of coming across rude. I guess I’ll just chuck it out there and see what happens.

  11. Katie says:

    I get like this when I write papers for class. In the end, they always end up being B+ or A papers.

  12. HoundsGood says:

    The only time I can really write is when I need to write in a hurry – something off the cuff or on the spot. If I am given any sort of assignment that I have time to ponder, I am a little bit of a super critical mess. That is why I think I am a better blogger than a magazine writer.

    HoundsGood’s last blog post..Got Pets? You Have to Try TriScents

  13. Quotes says:

    Perfectionism – This is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life like a I can recall so many times when i kept rewriting my web pages because i wanted them to be perfect but all i ended up doing was spending alot of time on something i didn’t have to. It’s sad because i waste so much time doing stuff like that.

  14. Its easy to be critical of your own writing. This factor is probably the greatest inhibitor of writers. Somehow, some way, we must figure out a way to just write our way through it.

    For me, I start where the passion is. If you are writing a book, write the chapter you like the best, with the scenes you want to write first. Then work your way forward and backward.

    Anway, I think its something we all struggle with. Writing is about exposing yourself and your thoughts to the world. Its natural to feel a little self concious.

    Finish Writing’s last blog post..Writing Tips: Conflict

  15. That’s funny that all that was sent back is the exclamation points!

    I just take a shot gun approach to writing. Write all my ideas first and then link everything up. I know it won’t be perfect the first time around – probably not ever. But the important thing is just to get started and I have an article in my hands!

    Print and Stitch’s last blog post..Get High Tech With Customized Electronic Mouse Pads

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