Oops, looks like you fell out of the running.
So, July is over. July is the first month I was going to do the monthly challenge on 750words.com. I started out really well, and then something happened.
I was on a 19-day streak in June, really pleased with myself. I was collecting badges like nobody’s business, writing at least 750 words every day since I started using the site.
I wrote my words on July 1st. Then, on July 2nd, I forgot. Actually, I did remember – at 11:45 pm. I was putting my daughter to bed, luckily she was already dozing and didn’t notice me pounding away on my phone like a madwoman. On my laptop I would have made it, but on the phone I just couldn’t. Midnight came, the site turned into a pumpkin, and I only had about 450 words.
The way 750words.com works is with external motivation – if you make it through the monthly challenge, you get your name put on the Wall of Awesomeness. If you don’t, your name goes on the Wall of Shame. You can also set up all sorts of motivation for yourself when you sign up at the beginning of the month – mostly negative if you follow the template. I didn’t fill it in.
So on July 3rd I faced a dilemma. I was no longer eligible for the Wall of Awesomeness. I had fallen out of the running only two days into the challenge. Why bother to continue? Such a field day for the Lizard Brain (remember her?), whispering that, since perfection was no longer achievable, I should just abandon the whole venture. I’m sure you’ve heard that whisper plenty of times.
Well, you know, I’m not actually on 750words.com for the Wall of Awesomeness. I’m there because it offers a convenient venue to write my morning pages, as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I’m writing those pages every day (although not necessarily in the morning) because they help me order my thoughts, let my consciousness flow through my fingers onto the screen (it helps that I am an extremely fast touch-typist, so I’m not wasting any brain cycles on the actual typing). Some days it’s cathartic, other days it’s enlightening – it’s amazing what words will slip through your fingers that you hadn’t even realised had formed in your brain. It’s a form of meditation that you can save and look back on, if you wish (although I usually don’t).
The badges and so on are cute, and it amuses me to see the stats on how fast I wrote my pages (right now my record to 750 words is 10 minutes), and it is somewhat creepy to see the results of the algorithm that tries to figure out what my mood was from what I wrote (kind of hit and miss). But the actual purpose of the writing is to write. The rest doesn’t matter at all.
As the image shows, I wrote 750 words every single day of July, except for July 2nd. That’s OK. I’m very proud of my achievement, and I’m even prouder of the fact that I didn’t let perfectionism derail me. I’ve signed up for the August challenge, and I hope I make it to the Wall of Awesomeness this time. But I’m already on my own Wall of Awesomeness.
How about you, how do you keep that perfectionist little voice from derailing your intentions?