Friday, March 23, 2012

Do It Anyway!

Illustration by J. Howard Miller
I watched Elizabeth Gilbert's Ted talk recently. It's about not stifling your creativity with fear and anxiety. Her suggestion: show up and do your part....without the angst, if possible. And bravo for doing your part, regardless of the stresses attached. Or in her words: Ole! to you, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.  I'd like to add: when you show up, do it with joy and enthusiasm!

Watching her made me think of Martina McBride's song "Anyway." I've always loved this song because it reminds me to be fearless. Write that book! Sing that song! No matter what other people say or think, do it anyway.

And then today, I read Amanda Oaks' post about Progress Not Perfection --- another great example of "do it anyway" thinking. Her premise is that you will be imperfect simply because you're human. It's unavoidable, which makes the quest for perfection fruitless. Embrace your imperfection, love it, and for God's sake, don't let it hold you back. Well done, Amanda!

I've allowed fear and perfectionism to lead me astray in the past, BUT NO MORE! I have to drop those old ideas and move forward regardless of what my fears tell me. What do I have to lose besides stress and anxiety? That's cool -- I'll take it!

Am I afraid people won't like what I write? Sometimes, but these days, I'm more likely to just say, "Fuck 'em! Their loss!" Besides, what other people think of me is none of my business. I can't let others' opinions influence me, especially if I want to be authentic (which I do, by the way).

Am I afraid my writing isn't fabulously insightful or amazingly literary? Of course! But I don't spend hours upon hours revising and editing to produce perfection. I don't feel I put crap out there either, but there's a balance I need to achieve. Perfectionism is simply another form of fear, and I try to avoid it at all costs. 

I have several stories on my computer, some floating around as hard copies, and the unwritten ones in my head. I'm the only one who can tell them -- at least in my own inimitable style and voice. I trust that there are people out there who need to read my stories, or else why am I called to do it? Why would I have plot lines and characters running around my cranium if it wasn't my job to share them? Who am I to deprive my readers of that pleasure simply because I'm afraid? I can't do that to them! It would be cruel and unusual punishment! A fate worse than death!

And, just as I trust there are readers for me out there, I also trust that the Universe, in all it's synchronous glory, will put my writing together with those readers. Isn't that what we, as creative  people, want? We want to connect with those who can, and will, resonate with our creations, who will take them in and make them a part of their life.

Would I like to be some incredible Pulitzer Prize winning novelist with overseas rights, a movie offer, and a Ted talk? Hell yeah, I would. But I can't get there if I don't write. And I won't write if I allow fear and perfection to dominate my thoughts and actions (or inaction, as the case may be). Truly, if I never get to super-novelist status, and yet manage to encourage or inspire a few of you who "get" me and my writing, that's enough.

Don't allow fear to inhibit your creative mind. And when the fears come up, and they will because we're human, tell 'em to fuck off. Or give them the one finger salute. Or run around your house in your ladybug pajamas with a lampshade on your head, waving a plucked chicken, and scare the shit out of 'em. Couldn't hurt....might help!

The point is, whether you are a writer, artist, entrepreneur, dog trainer, or tightrope walker, don't let fear stop you from doing what you love -- what you were born to do. 

Do it anyway!

Have you let fear and perfectionism thwart your creative efforts? Have you found ways to defeat them?

Have you been there?


  1. So I'm not really a perfectionist about my writing (obviously as it is scattered and inane.) But I do hyperventilate a little each time I post anything on my little blog. Though I may seem shameless, I am terrified to put my life online. Absolutely terrified.

    Then why do I do it?

    I don't know. I just really like to write.

    And I totally realize writing a blog is not at the same as writing a book/ total props to you on that, pretty sure I couldn't manage that one. Lack of direction and all.

    1. I like to write too. Writing a novel is just one blog post at a time with a common thread. You could do it -- your're an amazing writer! (I get a little terrified to post my life too, but I do it anyway!) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This post gave me great food for thought. I also LOVE your voice in this blog. Keep going, going, going! (But not on a motorcycle with a dead battery).

  3. Wow wow wow... and how did I not know about this, Ms. Lopez!!! I'm in. I want to read everything your write. You rock it, SC sistah! xox


Yes! I've been there, Claire!