Letting it go

The deadline is in 15 minutes. My dog is standing behind me, whining, waiting for me to take him out. In the dining room, my girlfriend is asking me when I’m going to come and sit down for dinner. For the last hour, I’ve been in front of my computer, editing the article I’m writing. It’s almost done, but not quite yet. It just needs one more edit.

Soon after that “final” edit, I take another 5 minutes to edit it again. And then again, and again.

I’ve always found finishing an assignment harder than beginning one. I’m good at starting an article well ahead of its deadline. My research, interviews, transcripts and notes are all finished well before I’m ready to sit down and write it out.

The process of writing can sometimes be slow and laborious for me, but I give myself plenty of time to think through the article and write out a first draft I am comfortable with.

For me, writing is a relatively smooth process. But as the deadline approaches, my stress and anxiety levels skyrocket. It needs to be perfect when I send it in. No typos, no anecdotes or pieces of evidence missing. Perfect.

Inevitably, an article that should have been finished well before the deadline is now being sent in with a couple of seconds to spare.

I’m relatively new to the field of writing. Letting go of an assignment and making peace with the fact that an article won’t be 100 per cent perfect is something I am still struggling with. But day by day, article by article, I’m slowly learning to let it go.

I finally send in the article I’ve been trying to finish for the last hour. I submit it to my instructor, take my dog outside and have dinner with my girlfriend.

A few days later, I get the assignment back. I see that I’ve lost one point because I spelled “of” instead of “off.” But you know what? I still received a great mark. One mistake isn’t the end of the world.

Mistakes happen. Things will always slip through the cracks. That’s why we have editors to catch these little typos when they make it past the writer’s radar.

Next time, I tell myself, I’ll do a few edits and then send it in. When the next deadline comes around again, I hand it in with 5 minutes to spare. Slowly but surely, I’m learning to let it go.

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