Patrick Ward words, code, and music

An Enumeration for the Relief of Methodical Perfectionism

One of the symptoms of my perfectionism is that even when something is complete and set free, it’s not really complete in my mind. I’ll mull over a project for days on end; fussing about errors in logic and grammar; kicking myself for slipping on cryptic references; embarrassed by the frivolity and naivety of words; and, well, drowning in a pool of sorrow regarding the utter failure of the attempt. Nothing in my perfectionist mind is ever truly done. I become like the heroin addicts in Trainspotting, always searching for that elusive “feeling” of completeness, but always, forever, out of reach of scratching that incessant itch in the back of my brain. Nothing satisfies; it’s truly maddening.

Fortunately, I’ve walked through this cycle of hell a few times before. And so, I’m fairly familiar with the terrain. And it doesn’t require another fix of heroin, thank you.

The Prescription

No, my friends, fear not! For, what follows is a handy prescription for the purist. A simple enumeration from which can be found immediate relief! It is a gift for those poor souls who suffer from an overactive consumption of methodical idealism; the bane of all artists, writers and inventors who fear a bout of the imaginative constipation.

It is, of course, best to follow these veridical instructions in order for maximal effectiveness:

  1. You must begin with a good night’s rest. Lay your knickers to the side, set your nightcap snugly against your brow, and gently lull yourself to sleep with the sweet sounds of your favorite tune; anything to put your mind outside the boundaries of said project.
  2. Start your new day with a hearty breakfast and juice. For, the artist relies greatly on the vitality of his own nectar.
  3. Begin then, with a book, the day’s Journal, or a conundrum of some interest to occupy the mind for the greater part of the morning. Creativity breeds creativity and often sheds that interminable need to revisit the dreaded itch.
  4. Start something NEW as soon as possible, even if that “something” is as simple as a silly list on how to fend off pedantic tendencies towards unending completeness. For, the urgency of your new project will soon take root and overcome the exigent demands of your previous endeavors in such a way as to make them seem like historical footnotes, forgotten in a ramble of academic sophistry.

Yes, dear readers, through the perseverance of a new project comes the enlightenment of knowing there are more hills to conquer, there are greater challenges to address, and the world does not turn upon your tripped up attempts at imagination.

I’ll return soon with missives that are far less silly. Until then, march forward ye soldiers of a purist heart, for the world awaits your creative gifts!