From the Bali Files: Blogging will Beat the Perfectionist Out of You

As promised, I'm going to share a few freewrites from my goal to write for 15 minutes each day while in Bali and Thailand. This is from one of my earliest sessions, and I remember making myself crazy just trying to push through the resistance to get started. To jog my thoughts, I started by making a list of everything I could observe from my table at the restaurant — a good trick if you're ever feeling stuck. Even though it feels a little journal-y and unfinished, I am taking my own advice today by sharing this with all of you. :)

Sitting at Pundi Pundi for dinner: Nasi Goreng, Carrot/Orange/Beet Juice

Thick, hazy, moist grey skies Fragrant balmy air Rolling claps of thunder behind the clouds Men milling in the rice paddies, one with a rake one with a machete Quiet back at home, quiet here Ivy weaves up a lamppost A candle flickers on the table A single pink lotus flower peeks up from the lily pads, three feet tall — the only pink and white for miles of green. A beautiful, breathtaking individual in a sea of sameness. Peach tea in the pouring rain

View from Pundi Pundi restraurant, Ubud

There's so much to do, and yet even more I want to write . . . could write. My tasks weigh on me and ask for me first. But my writing — my creative writing — tugs at my shirt (or in today's case, long blue polka-dot dress) and asks me to give it attention. Order a coffee! Find a cafe! Open your laptop! Do the work! Everyone is asleep! 

And so, as my American friends and family sleep, I sit at a table overlooking an enormous rice field. Palm trees, thatched-roof houses, ponds, men in triangular hats wading through the water pulling and milling and doing whatever it is they are doing in rows. Up and down, up and down. A white bird glides across. In front of me I can see at least 10 different species of native flora. A half-built bamboo structure, two stories high, sits sandwiched in-between a lighthouse looking structure and a white abode.

Writing for 15 minutes — even just 15 minutes — feels like an eternity. Right now I am seven minutes in.

A candle flickers on the table and I've ordered a cappuccino. Perhaps not the enlightened choice drink of a yogi — I'm sure I should be sipping on some exotic tea (the peach was particularly delightful) but I need to shake out of this afternoon lethargy. Scratch that — I don't need to do anything — but I want to. I want to write and find my voice. Keep finding my voice — the one that writes unencumbered by audience or approval or anyone else's judgment but my own.

Blogging will beat the perfectionist right out of you.

Blogs are transitory in nature — each post is fleeting and washed away by others that follow, unlike a book. A book sits bound and refined on a shelf for years, for better or for worse; worse being that it does not and cannot evolve with the author as it only captures a moment in time.

Blog posts capture mere moments, and if you procrastinate with perfectionism, you will miss them.

So you must publish the few typos, the shaky video, the half-formed ideas. Because these half-formed ideas weave a quilt over time that expresses your evolution.

What the blog asks — demands — of you, is to publish. Over and over again. It is relentless. It is the child that you conceived on a whim that is now a lifelong commitment. It is the source and the outlet for creativity, connection and community.


This post originally appeared on Life After College. I have imported selected posts from 2013 to catch new readers up to speed. Is that you? If so, a) awesome! And b) check out the new here guided tour. For long-time readers, nothing new in this one!