Fabulous Imperfection

Last week, Jenny Crusie wrote a blog post over at Reinventing Fabulous which is a blog I frequent because then I can kid myself that I’m working on my own fabulousness.


Several of the people from the blog have joined Jenny in taking a course of self-discovery from Brene Brown. I love Brown’s youtube videos and TED talks, but have avoided taking the class. I need to focus on my work. No shiny new things to distract me, please. That’s what I tell myself. This past week’s topic was Imperfection Friday. It spoke of human imperfection and the strengths in our personality as having a corresponding weakness, sort of superpower vs. kryptonite. Go here to view: http://www.tinyurl.com/lddyovr

I chose storytelling as my superpower and insecurity as my kryptonite. I gave this considerable thought, but I didn’t comment immediately. I went about my morning thinking about my response. It was a great exercise, and it required some deep digging. That afternoon I curled up on the couch still thinking about it, and I realized I was doing the same thing that I always do. I’d been totally oblivious, because mine is a deep-seated, patterned response. I hadn’t even realized I’d been doing my old insecure number; living it for at least five days.

Content edits are due any day now. So what am I doing? Using my time wisely? Cleaning house, marketing, running errands, knocking off a multitude of appointments, writing new words, oh no! That would be sensible. Nope. Instead I’m lazing around and reading books, and studying a book of Deepak Chopra’s, and writing book reviews, and generally blocking out the world. Feeling insecure makes me withdraw from the world, except for the internet. Every few hours I check email to see if the edits have arrived. ; )

Why? I know this is a waste of time. It’s not like I’ll start working on them. Every time I get content edits, I freak out. I open the file, have a quick look and close it. Fast. Then I think about it overnight. The next day I take another peek and repeat the process. I feel physically ill. My brain goes on overwhelm like there’s forty freakin trolls wearing heavy work boots and doing a folk dance in my head. I just know I’ll do a horrible job of this book. I am a hack. I can’t write. I’ll never be successful. I have a stomach ache. I have a headache.

By the third day I calm down, open the file and get to work. It’s never as bad as I imagine it will be, and seriously, I end up enjoying making my story the best that it can become. So why do I do this? I have no answer, it’s my process and it works, in a strange sort of way. Is anyone else out there as crazy as me?


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21 Responses to Fabulous Imperfection

  1. Sam Beck says:

    Hey Roben,

    Love your post, but I have to correct you on something. Reading and writing book reviews are not “lazing around”! The first is a necessary activity for any writer and the second is an act of generosity! So, actually, you’re using your time wisely and generously. 😉

  2. robena grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Sam. I like the injections of positive thinking you provide. I needed that shot! : )

  3. >raises hand< Yes, I'm looney as can be.

    I get edits and essentially do what you do – put off actually working on them until I can't sleep. Once I actually begin the process, it is never as bad as I'd assumed.

    But I still hold very tight to a fantasy of once, just once, turning in a book and being told – It's great. No need for any revisions. The book is accepted as is.

    I can dream, can't I?

  4. robena grant says:

    I’m glad to be in the same company as you, Lynne. After you having written 20+ books and still feeling weird about edits, it gives me hope. I’ve never figured out what I’m scared of. The work still has to be done whether there are a ton of changes or only a few recommended. I live for the day that I get edits and think, “Oh, goody. I will start these right now.” : )

  5. Yep, I’m crazy, too. But sometimes you just need to hide – from the writing, from the editing – for a little while before you can dive in.

  6. robena grant says:

    I guess you’re right, Robin. Hide out for a bit and then dive in and take care of business. In a way, it’s a fear of the unknown isn’t it?

  7. It would appear you and I have a very similar approach to our process! I agree with Sam, your “lazing about” sounded quite productive to me. Good luck with your content edits. I know you’ll make the book shine!

  8. Susan B James says:

    I read Jenny’s post too and pondered it.
    As for your process , there are never as many hours in the day as there things to fill them. And I think some of that time needs to be spent letting our mind roam free. That, to me, is writer process time

    • robena grant says:

      So come on, spill, Susan. : )
      What are your superpower and kryptonite? And I agree, daydreaming, reading, etc. are all ways to refill the creative well.

  9. robena grant says:

    Hey, RoseAnn. thanks for dropping by. It’s good to know I’m not alone with my crazy process.

  10. I’m weird. I actually look forward to getting my content edits because I know when I’m done with them, my book will be twice as good. My editor is terrific. It’s like I’m supposed to be cooking Thanksgiving and all of a sudden someone comes along to help me! Woot!

    • robena grant says:

      I think that is fabulous, Kate. It’s a powerful, positive way of looking at the situation. I love it when I get to copyedits and galleys, it’s just those first content edits that scare me. I’m going to take a page from your book. ; )

  11. Mia Hopkins says:

    Hi Robena,

    Thanks for this great post! It really got me thinking. My process is similar to yours: days of agony and avoidance before biting the bullet.

    I wonder if this kind of procrastination really is related to insecurity. In some ways, I feel it’s me trying to wrestle back control of a situation by creating space to process things in my own time. In my own pajamas.

    Anyhow, I enjoyed your thoughts on this.


  12. robena grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Mia. Interesting thoughts. : )
    This may just be our way of getting ourselves into a positive frame of mind before opening the document and really looking at the suggestions. So, yeah, a wrestling back of the power. Hmmm.

  13. Nia Simone says:

    Love this post, Robena! I can’t force myself to work when I’m an emotional basket case, whatever that trigger is. So I do things that comfort me, like you… read mostly! It works! Then you and I feel better and back to work!

    Sometimes we forget how amazing it is that we write stories that keep people turning the pages. What that ability represents is years and years of showing up at the job, learning, reading, trying, rejection, picking ourselves up again… And this particular book that has revision suggestions… what did it take to get the story on the page so there would be something to tweak? You are awesome!

  14. robena grant says:

    Aww, so are you, Nia! : ) I loved what you had to say on Donald Maass tonight on TWRP chat. Awesome.

  15. Judy, Judy, Judy says:

    Hahahahahahahahahaha – am I as crazy as you? I am far crazier than you madam!

  16. robena grant says:

    I hope we get to meet in person some day, Judy. Just so we can learn which one is the craziest. Ha ha.

  17. Gina B. says:

    Hi Robena,

    Oooh, you are not alone! I have many times I think I’m losing my mind, usually when I’m desperately trying to make something good and feeling like I’m fighting against everything, especially myself.

    I think maybe your fears and doubts after you get your edits come from wanting to make something the best you possibly can. Those few days of wondering and doubting may be your mind’s way of washing out all of those uncertain feelings, and gearing you up and getting you ready to work.

    You always give 100% and you will always pull off your edits. 🙂

  18. robena grant says:

    Hi, Gina.
    I love that “gearing up” and readying myself for the work. I’d forgotten, but Krissie (Anne Stuart) calls it girding the loins. Then she’ll go in to do battle. So yeah, I’m mentally preparing myself. Thanks for coming by. : )