Words of Others | Perfect Advice

I picked up Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life last week because I have been in a bit of an introspective mood lately and I'd read that this was a good book for that sort of thing. There's a lot of good stuff in it so far, including this on perfectionism:

I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.

Well, that's pretty blunt, but it's also probably true.

A paragraph later, she adds this:

Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground -- you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe to move.

As someone who is perpetually facing moderate to heave mess and clutter of my own making, I fully endorse this view.