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Entries in planning (1)


Useful planning versus procrastination disguised as perfectionism

Yet another from Twyla Tharp (maybe I just enjoy writing "Twyla Tharp"...) from her book The Creative Habit, this time about useful planning vs. procrastination disguised as perfectionism:

Another trap is the belief that everything has to be perfect before you can take the next step. You won't move on to that second chapter until the first is written, rewritten, honed, tweaked, examined under a microscope, and buffed to a bright mahogany sheen. You won't dip a brush in the paint until you've assembled all the colors you can possibly imagine using in the course of the project. I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do.

I used to bask in the notion that all my obstacles to creative efficiency would vanish if I only had exactly the right resources[...]. But I've learned the opposite is true: Limits are a secret blessing, and bounty can be a curse.

...and, related:

Remember this the next time you moan about the hand you're dealt: No matter how limited your resources, they're enough to get started. Time, for example, is our most limited resource, but it is not the enemy of creativity that we think it is. The ticking clock is our friend if it gets us moving with urgency and passion. Give me a writer who thinks he has all the time in the world and I'll show you a writer who never delivers. Likewise with money, which comes a close second as our most limited resource. It's tempting to believe that the quantity and quality of our creative productivity would increase exponentially if only we could afford everything we've imagined, but I've seen too many artists dry up the moment they had enough money in the bank. For every artist who is empowered and inspired by money, there is another who gets lazy and self-satisfied because of it. Necessity will continue to be the mother of invention.

Too true. When you're insanely busy all you want is a gaping expanse of time in which to write write write. But odds are pretty good that you'll accomplish much more in the limited free time you have each day than if you had the entire day and nothing else to do but write.