Monday, September 5, 2011

1. Don't Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good

This starting-a-blog idea popped into my head a couple of weeks ago, just before the “hurrication” (a.k.a. Irene), here in NY. I figured that a blog would be a great way to keep me on-track as I’m beginning my grad school audition prep (which technically already began months ago, but more on that in another post). I also figured that a blog would be a great way to keep in touch with my family in CA. Annnd after reflecting on my experience auditioning for grad school last year (my 2nd try), I realized that something that would have made the process more fulfilling for me would have been to have more of a sense of community support, so that I wouldn’t feel like I was doing this ALONE, ya know?

So I took advantage of the time-off during the hurricane and began to plan and prepare for my self-exploration/accountability blog which I entitled Acceptance Project. Since this blog is about examining my creative process, I feel it necessary to tell you what issues came up for me in the inception of blog-creation…  I think it’s indicative of my process over-all.

So, I get the idea to create this blog… then the following happens (mostly inside my head)…

1.       Self: Blogging is too overwhelming and too much work and not "me". I am not a "blogger." I do not "blog".… (Attempts to talk myself out of it/Test if it’s just a passing fancy)

2.       Self: Idea will still not go away, keeps coming up at random times throughout the week when brain should be focusing on other things. Brings up emotions ranging from giggly joy to total and complete dread.

3.       Several days go by… Self: Wrestling with all the logical reasons that a blog might be a good thing for me (as listed in introductory paragraph), but main obstacle has now become fear of self-disclosure on public forum (a.k.a. the world wide web)… Q: Am I confident enough in who I am to actually be vulnerable in my blog posts? A: I will never know unless I actually DO IT. And confidence will be gained in the action of doing it, so how I feel about it now is really irrelevant.

4.       Self: Decide that FEAR is never a good reason for not doing something that you know will be a good thing for you/is fun/you (secretly) want to do.

5.       Hurricane hits and I sat in my apartment for two days straight and designed the blog… started working on the menu pages and brainstormed about content, etc. (Didn’t tell anyone what I was doing… Could hardly admit it to myself yet.)

6.       Got the bare bones of the blog up… and figured out my “statement of purpose.” (Finally told someone about it!) I enlisted the feedback of one close and trusted friend to bounce ideas off of (I let this person in on this project at this early tender stage of the project because… A. I knew they would encourage me to move forward without judging and B. They have some computer/technical expertise that I don’t have.) A super judgmental “friend’s” criticism of the project would have crushed the idea for me at this stage. I was still finding my legs with it and feeling it out. Intense scrutiny or even flippant comments from well-meaning supporters wouldn’t have been helpful at this point. Gotta protect your babies!

7.       After putting together the structure for the whole thing… And planning all the steps that I had to do next in order to begin blogging on my start date of Sept 5… I let the blog page sit there on the internet for about 5 days without touching it at all… just anticipating… just letting it BE, as I started to get used to the idea that I am making myself into a “blogger” and in what ways will this change my experience of grad school audition prep? (Still wrestling with... “Why would anyone care to read this besides my mother?" But, hey!, that’s one subscriber… and that’s all I really need to be accountable. So then… I’m good. Right? Right. Acceptance Project will be successful in that way no matter what!)

8.       Cut to yesterday… I finally got the email subscription up and running and I’ve started to tell people about what I’m doing… in person… via FB… by text message… a few emails… slowly building up the confidence to share the project with others.  I am really excited about it and happy to be able to do something that kind-of freaks me out too. It’s a good challenge and I know I’ll grow from it somehow, in some way. Also, most everyone has been encouraging, which has been a gift.

9.       So now, here I am… 8:15am on Labor Day morning… writing my first blog… my “labor” of love… and oh, boy… It ain’t perfect. I am having to deal with all kinds of crazy negative self-talk in my head right now… But I have not set myself the parameter that my blogs have to be “good”… The guidelines are….A. that I have to post 6 days a week (which I am doing)… quantity is key, quality will get better over time (that’s what PROCESS is about)… and B. that my writing has to be my vulnerable truth reflecting my creative process and not what I think other people want to read (which this is... and I am certainly impressed that you’ve read this far!!! Ha!)… So, anyway,  I’m following my own rules... and avoiding one of my major blocs… perfectionism. Because it’s better to move forward from where you’re at, than to stand still, waiting for the "perfect" moment and wishing you could move. There is no perfect moment. There is only now. At least… that what I've found to be true.

10.   Next steps… keep posting!!! Tomorrow is another day! And… now that I’ve got the blog up-and-running I can look to improve it and play with it… make it into just what I want it to be… or just what it’s supposed to become… or whatever! And I can continue to tell people about it and build confidence and hopefully create a sense of community around this very personal dream/goal/process I am working on... getting accepted to grad school!!!

That said… I’m very interested in what helps you to be able to move forward in your process? What are the obstacles that sometimes inhibit you from taking action to begin to accomplish your goals/dreams/secret wishes? How have you overcome them in the past? Share the wealth of your self-knowledge!

Love to you all!! 

Thanks for reading. Thanks for subscribing. Thanks for being you.


P.S. First blog post. Done. Whew! 

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
~ Gretchen Rubin author of The Happiness Project


  1. Support and Sharing Day 1:

    I wrote you this LOVELY response and my computer freaked out and lost it. Rats! Here's the "abbreviated" one.:) I don't know if these will work for you, but you've asked us to share things that work for us... Like it or not, here you go! ;p

    For me, you've totally hit the nail on the head. Fear of failure is what holds me back almost all of the time. "What will happen if I don't succeed" and more so, "What will happen if I don't succeed and others know about it?!". Oftentimes I've let my concerns over where I am in relation to other people and where I am in relation to where I think I should be stand in my way. Totally, totally wrong! Here are some thoughts I've used (and am still using):

    "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lao-Tzu

    BEGIN. Beginning is the hardest thing for me. Before I take that initial one my thoughts mainly consist of the reasons why I shouldn't do it. If I manage to quiet that negativity for long enough to do something, those thoughts are replaced with a sense of freedom, empowerment, and growing courage. "Hey! That wasn't so hard. This is cool! Maybe I'll try another one." And pretty soon I'm not counting the steps, but chugging along at a jog (no small feat for me, I needn't tell you;).

    "Sometimes you're ahead. Sometimes you're behind. The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself." -Baz Luhrman

    I try to remind myself that I AM EXACTLY WHERE I NEED TO BE. Maybe it doesn't feel that way and I don't know the reason, but throughout my life, events have unfolded just as they should. Not necessarily in MY time frame, but in the greater scheme of things. Experiences built upon the previous, and had I not had them, I would have been unprepared for what I was really after.

    This non-judgement of myself thing is particularly challenging for me. I don't know if it's similar to the perfectionism you talk about, or something different entirely, but here's another great quote I use for similar purposes.

    "There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open." -Martha Graham

    Love, love, love you and am so excited about your journey!

    Cheers to you!


    PS: I started MBT the other day. It is awesome :). <3

  2. Having had spent this labor day weekend perfecting my procrastination skills, I can relate to falling into excuses, and though our excuses are of course unique and complex (at least the fear will tell you so), all of them will lead to not accomplishing what must be done; ironically, the lesson is that in the "doing" even failure is success, and if you have not achieved greatness, at the very least we will have been satisfied with the fact that we have done what we wouldn't or couldn't. Inspiring - keep going!

  3. Alexis! Thank you so much for your support and sharing. You are totally singin' my song, girl! The wisdom of the Tao te Ching is an amazing resource and that quote from Martha Graham is brilliant!!! I've never seen that one before. It's a keeper... as are you. Your participation in this journey is highly valued. Your self-awareness and willingness be open are inspiring to me! Keep the comments coming! My wall is your wall. Your thoughts/ideas/feelings/fears/triumphs are safe here to explore. Sending you love and much success with MBT! ~V

  4. Unknown, You are totally right-on. Sometimes we learn and grow from the "not doing" as much as the "doing." Sometimes more so with the "not." If you're like me... which I suspect you may be... ;)... you're a DOER. Therefore, our challenge is to let go... to allow... to just BE. It's like in music... We need the spaces between the notes to have music, otherwise it's just monotonous noise. So good for you, giving yourself some space to just BE on this holiday weekend!!! Oh, and have to say... with regard to procrastination... Check this blog post out. It's one of my faves... Thanks for your comment, Unknown. Be well!