Screw Neatness

I have a holdup. A holdup that has been holding me back from my desire to outline. Or to track facts in stories. Or to generally write things down that I need to remember.


It’s a disease, I am certain, this drive to have to be perfect in what I do. Even in notebooks where I am just writing things down for the sake of writing things down, I want it all neat and orderly. (Funny enough, it’s taken me years to develop a strategy in keeping my spaces organized. My desk is typically a fun playhouse of disaster.) When I write outlines, I want A to B to C, etc. I fight against writing a bunch of random notes to organize later.

What I do (and I understand how ridiculous this is) is refuse to write stuff down because I don’t have a plan to keep it neat but then get upset because I can’t recall or look back and find things because I didn’t write it down…

Even more ridiculous, I get anal about making sure that I use a particular pen in a notebook. A CERTAIN PEN. It doesn’t matter that I have a writing implement in my hand, if it isn’t the one I use for the particular notebook in front of me, it’s a non-starter.

Prime examples of forward progress being impeded due to a lack of willingness to let things be as they are. It is driven be fear. And I don’t even know what that fear is in this case!

I know that in a lot ways I am a pantser with how I write. I sit down; I write. To hell with the plan. But it bites me at times. Those times, having an outline, notes, or something would be a huge help. Or just a place to write something down. SOMETHING!

To get beyond this, I have to learn that my notebooks do not have to be neat. They have to be functional. They have to only keep the information at the ready. Be a place to jot down, debate, and push through ideas. If I can start doing this… if I can push beyond those last remaining tendrils of my perfectionism… then I might just jump forward in what I find myself capable of as a writer.


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