The pressure to write.

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I have an annoying little habit. I write down everything. And I mean everything. I don’t leave the house without two notebooks – one 8×11 that I use for content, material and writing notes and a 3×5 that I use for inspiration, advice, tidbits about life from my teachers and performance notes. It comes in handy.

Every Saturday I have to turn in a sketch. We’re given a style and the task of completing it by next week’s class. Homework. Easy right? Well, usually it is. This week is really hard.

Last week I turned in a sketch that I thought was too easy. I essentially took my life and just heightened it… made fun of it. An office sketch with an intern who was inspired (and played by) a very close friend of mine who is immensely talented. I thought it was silly and cute… but too easy… too overdone. Imagine my surprise when it went over really well. I mean, it was something I didn’t even work hard at. I just wrote as myself, for myself. I didn’t think about the social connotation or life questions. I just did it.

So now I’m sitting here, trying to get myself to write, and I have this pressure that I’m putting on myself to really hit it out of the park. Now I have something to live up to. Now there’s the expectation for me to write something else relatable yet unique. Before, I would just go for it and not really care if people liked it. Now, I’m sitting here trying to study myself and figure out how the hell I did it the first time.

So what do I do now? Well, I turned to my notebook. I flipped back to when I first came up with the premise… I looked for any kind of hint as to where to begin. Instead, I found a quote I wrote down from my teacher after she saw my sketch last week. She goes around and gives everyone feedback… how to improve, what went right, what didn’t hit. Last week she got to me and kind of stared at me for a bit.

“Annie Taylor. I almost said ‘You’re perfect, never change.’ But it’s my duty to give you something to work on… so let’s talk about your title…”

Nothing will ever be perfect. Even when you get it all right, someone will always have a way to make it better. So why put the pressure on yourself to make something perfect? All you can do is put out something that you believe in… that you think is really good… and hope that others like it too. I need to stop looking at what I did right in the past and focus on what other things I can do in the future. If perfect can’t happen anyways, why am I so scared that I won’t be perfect?

I found another great quote from a previous teacher when I was breezing through my notes. He said, “I don’t believe in writer’s block. It just doesn’t exist. You can look at anything in the room and get inspiration. Just start writing. So, no… I don’t believe in writer’s block. But I do believe in lazy writers.”

Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t be a lazy writer. Just write what you’d want to watch.

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