Disclaimer: This is not a blog entry for people who are writing strictly to please the audience or whose primary aim with writing is to make a profit. Thank you.
You do not have to please everyone with your book. In fact, I would argue that you don’t have to please anyone with your book. All except for one person. Who is that, you wonder? Well. There’s one person who spent hours upon hours upon hours of sweat, blood, and time writing the thing and (depending on if you decide to publish it) a pretty penny to have it available on the market. There’s one person who pulled that story from nothing, weaved words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters, and created characters from thin air…
Image by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash.
“You’re not a real writer until you write every day.”
An Argument Against Defining a “Real” Writer and “Perfect” Routine
This is a piece of advice I have heard ever since my beginning as a writer, back during a time when I didn’t think I was or could be a writer. Back when I was incapable of writing consistently, or much at all for that matter.
Would you like to know when that was? Childhood. When I was a kid, I didn’t have a reliable computer, and it was hard to keep a notebook in the house that wasn’t used for schoolwork. I was maybe eight when I first got the inkling that I wanted to be a writer, and it was some of my earliest school librarians that told me that you have to write every day and sacrifice everything to become a writer.
Even when a reliable computer came in the house and notebooks were plentiful, I still didn’t think I was or could be a writer. Even if I wrote dozens of tiny incomplete tales and imagined characters doing heroic deeds at every spare hour in the day, I still didn’t think I could be a writer because of the stigma surrounding writing, my inability to write regularly every day, and the fact that I can’t create (nor follow) a rigid outline to save myself.
Let me tell you how I changed my mind by learning that writing is a process, “writer” is a title open to anyone who wants it, and that there is no perfect or real writer (OR writing routine!).
DISCLAIMER: This is a piece of writing that by no means shames any one way of writing. In fact, this is just the opposite. This blog post supports individualized writing routines, supports different ways of writing, and exemplifies how someone who is in their 60’s-80’s can still publish in the same world as those who publish when they are in their 20’s-30’s.
The KEY: No one writes the same. No one is a “fake” writer if they write. Writing is expression. Writing is art. Writing is writing.
Keep these in mind as you read, as it applies to every point below.
Perfection isn’t a myth, it’s just misunderstood
me: psshhhh i’m not a perfectionist
also me: spends a half hour making sure that every single post has the same caption format
I need a shock collar to wear when I am doing drawing practice to stop me so I don’t overwork things. That may be the only way I can train that impulse out of myself…
We know how hard 2020 has been and we need to stop hoping that things will go perfectly. Quitting perfectionism has become extremely important these days as everything is going out of the place and in a completely different direction than that of the ‘plans’ we mad. I wish we had a forward button which would help us to just skip these hard times and make our lives normal again but unfortunately, we can’t do that! We must learn how to adapt to these situations and do the best in our capabilities but if you're precise, you start setting unrealistic standards which won’t necessarily go the way you want. Being highly critical just leads to procrastination which then leads you to develop the fear of failure.
If you’re a perfectionist, this year is just not for you. Sometimes it’s better to be average than having high standards and false expectations. Allow yourself to do something imperfectly but enjoy the process of doing it. Give your brain the rest it deserves and practice self-compassion. Do things from your soul instead of always the mind, be involved in what you’re doing and stop hiding or correcting every single mistake. After all, life is not perfect and so aren’t you.
Sometimes I long for my old overly anxious and self conscious self.
Because even though I was an unhappy nervous mess all of the time, at least I had my shit in order and cared.
So given it’s October (ah, who am I kidding I love horror films) I figured it would be interesting to examine some iconic performances -most notably-Shelley Duvall’s in the The Shining.
Firstly, before I break it down, it is a stellar performance - but that’s not what I wanted to really discuss here. I wanted to talk around it. Mostly, I wanted to focus on the mental anguish suffered by Duvall -that was done by Kubrick and if it was really necessary to “get” the performance out of her. I’ll give you the spoilers now and tell you that, no, I don’t believe so.
Here’s a quote from an article to give you some context as to what she went through while filming this picture:
It’s no secret that Shelley Duvall had a rough time while shooting The Shining. Her role as Wendy Torrance, the frightened wife to a deranged husband, was so detrimental to her health that she lost chunks of her hair from the stress. And Stanley Kubrick, who was known for perfectionism within his movies, made her experience on set “excruciating.”
This along with reported anxiety attacks means that Kubrick seemingly put her through hell during the shoot -despite her respect for him-I do think it was unnecessary to demand so many shots, and re-shoots and mentally exhaust his actors.
If we look at other profound horror film performances, to name a few, Maika Monroe in It Follows, Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, Linda Blair in The Exorcist or even Sigourney Weaver in Alien and Aliens - all of these performances came without the baggage offered by Duvall’s performance or by Tippi Hedren’s in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (another director known for demanding near-perfection from their crew)
Tippi says of her arguably abusive on-set experience:
On the final day of shooting the scene, live birds were loosely tied to Hedren’s costume while she laid on the floor. The actress says when “Action!” was called, the birds that were tied to her started pecking her and the wranglers again threw live birds directly at her.
This is to say nothing of actors who put themselves through similarly harrowing experience for their “art” like Christian Bale in The Machinst. I think these behaviours and demands for these sorts of performances are unhealthy both mentally, and potentially physically (I can not give enough praise to Robert Pattinson in his decision not to bulk up for The Batman). Some may think you need to suffer for your art - but as I pointed out in my counter-performances, on sets that were a lot more cohesive and collaborative - you can draw out art from a healthier place, even when the subject matter is dark or heavy. Nothing is necessary, everything is relative - ultimately real-life health of your actors should supersede audience/director demands - and by focusing in on one’s health, one does not get a ‘lesser’ performance.
I am currently writing 2 fics and I have 6 little plot bunnies sitting in my notes, waiting to be turned into fics too. I have so much inspiration, but I keep rewriting and adding onto my chapters, and that’s why I’m scared to start posting. I don’t wanna mess up the fics, but I also don’t want to wait until they’re done because they’re going to be long and I love to work with feedback.
In bed wondering when I am actually going to grow the balls to post my stories on here. It’s getting ridiculous now. This account is about to be a year old, November 2020.
Why am I like this?
When you are raised to be always perfect, told over and over again how perfect you are and praised constantly, you turn into a crazy adult who doesn’t want to try anything knew if there is a possibility you might fail.
Don’t shower your kids with empty praise…
☆ Day 12 - How much time do you spend on studyblr per day on average?
About 1-2 hours depending on if I’m creating posts or just scrolling.
☆ Day 13 - Do you have an ‘aesthetic’? If yes, what is it?
My aesthetic is simple and minimal but also floral, girly, and colorful. I also much prefer cool tones over beige/tan tones.
I was gonna take/find some photo examples cause I feel like its hard to explain but I was getting way too stressed out searching so I just tried my best.