Perfectionist or Garfield? Which one are you?

***Originally post on Nights of Passion***

Since I usually write my Tuesday posts last minute, today you’re stuck with a rant based on my mood Monday night, which was when I wrote this, which was last night, and now it’s Tuesday, wherever you are, reading this. Yeah. Weird. Hey, I’m like me from the past, talking to the future you. Whoa. *enter Twilight Zone music*

It’s late people. You get what you get.

Anyway. I started two new books recently. Up until now, getting into a new project was fun and exciting and challenging but not so challenging that I was literally gnawing my own arm off starting at my fingernails. It was the kind of challenge that made you wanna throw on a gray jogging suit and do a little Rocky Balboa dance to Eye of the Tiger. You’re singing that song now, aren’t you?

So there I was, jogging suit freshly washed, ipod cued up, then…something changed.

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown as an author, or maybe it’s the pressure of putting out quality work faster, or maybe it’s because I added more fiber to my diet. I don’t know. The point is, something has changed and I don’t like it.

I’ve turned into a perfectionist. Some of you are obliviously nodding your heads to this statement as if it’s no big deal. Well, let me tell you something. It’s a big fucking deal!

I am far too lazy to be a perfectionist. But I’m not the kind of lazy that wants to be less lazy and only needs a pep talk and a caffeine pill addiction. I’m the kind of lazy that is perfectly happy being lazy. I’m like Garfield. I don’t want to be less lazy. I like the way I am. Fat, in a lasagna coma, making sarcastic comments about everything that happens in my silly little world.

Perfectionists are obsessive compulsive control freaks (no offense to obsessive compulsive control freaks). They were the ones that always made me look bad in school. It would’ve been a lot easier on the rest of us if everyone was just average. Even better, if everyone was a slacker. But thanks to the overachievers out there, average is much…averager.

So distressed was I about this cluster fuck, that I complained to a writer friend. Our conversation when something like this:

Friend: Remember back when you were gently guiding me in the ways of successful authoring?

Leia: Huh? I did that? Oh. Right. Ahem. Yes, I remember.

Friend: You told me to write in layers.

Leia: Yes, that’s very good advice. Go me.

Friend: And now that the pupil has surpassed the teacher, and sits here pathetically begging for scraps of advice…

Leia: Ungrateful bitch.

Friend: …I’m going to tell you the same thing. Don’t get hung up on every word being perfect. Write the story in layers. The first is the foundation, the plot and bare bones of the story. Second, is character development, and subplots. That’s the meat of the book. Third is perfecting the wording and adding description. See? You don’t have to do it all at once. Layers.

Leia: Hmm. *stares at mansuscript* Fuck layers!

Sadly, the conversation went downhill from there. But you see my point, right? Fuck layers.

Sometimes the writing method that served you well for years just ups and leaves. Probably vacationing in Hawaii with that bitch muse that deserted you over the summer!

Sometimes, advice you give turns out to be shit and you don’t have the energy to go back and tell everyone you gave it to that you don’t really know what the fuck you’re talking about and why does everyone listen to you anyway? You’re Garfield! Can’t they tell?

And sometimes, things just change. It’s not fair. You can bitch and moan and stomp around – which, believe me, I did – or you can go with it. In the end, you kinda have to anyway. Life is like that. It likes to screw us over once in a while just to keep us on our toes.

This post is mostly for me, if you can’t tell. My own messed up, public form of therapy to soothe my panicking inner writer. There there, little inner writer. Everything will be okay.

Anyway, writers…has your process made a dramatic change over time? Has anyone else done a 180 on something that seemed totally out of character? If so, how did you deal with it?

More importantly, which is better? Lasagna, parfait, or cake?