In Anne Lamott's book "Bird by Bird", she writes about her brother sitting at the table in their holiday home wrought with tears because he didn't know where to start on a project for school involving tropical birds. He had all the research and all the plans but he didn't know how to actually make tangible steps towards finishing what seemed like an insurmountable task.

She writes that her dad gave her brother an invaluable advice there that has sat with her ever since; "Bird by bird, son, just take it bird by bird."

What she means is that people get so focused on what they want their story/art to be that they feel like the time it will take to attain their vision vs the risk of failing is too high. So more often than not, they give up. Like … 90% of the time they give up.

"Bird by Bird" is taking things one small step at a time that you can't screw up. And I mean literally baby steps. Like water drops from a tap, you set your eyes on the tiny miniscule goals you can achieve in your stories and keep achieving and achieving and achieving this until it eventually becomes a puddle (a finished work).

So, for example, finish 200 words of my first chapter. Write out a bio with two character traits for the MC etc etc. Then you keep going and going and going until you have a dazzling work.

Do you guys agree with this? What are your cures for getting over crippling perfectionism?

Read:  Anyone else experience the post-novel slump? (Or any other length work)

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