Great advice: work without hope or despair

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss charming video about perfectionism from the School of Life….

I have a strong memory of Lego from when my three children were kids. We had boxes of the stuff and I remember stepping on those painful, teeny-tiny pieces in the middle of the night when I lurched from bed to comfort an unhappy kid. Ouch!

I’ve never seen the Lego Movie, but when subscriber Kristina emailed me with a link to a similarly conceived video, I couldn’t stop myself from watching. (It helped that she told me it was about creativity and said it made her think of “everything she’d learned” from me.) Titled Keep Going, the 2:34 minute video explores how perfectionism stops us from creating work.

The blurb accompanying the movie says,

A big reason we give up on projects is the perfectionist belief that it all has to be right on day one. That’s nonsense: we just have to keep faith, work one day at a time – and we’ll get there. 

I particularly liked one of the lines from the film. Here’s what it said:

Work without hope or despair. Eventually, one day, your talents will catch up with your taste.

Isn’t that beautiful? Many writers feel that bizarre combination of hope and despair while they’re working — particularly if they’re faced with a big project, like a book. But the best thing to do is always to ignore those unhelpful emotions and simply do the work. It may turn out. It may not. But you won’t know until you do it. Watch this video and see if you agree.


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