An average blog post on perfectionism

May 22, 2017

I haven't published any new blog posts for a while. I've started writing a few, but I keep getting stuck with the feeling that I've said it all before, that I'm adding nothing new and that what I'm writing now isn't as good as what I've written before.Some would argue that the solution to this is to just write and not worry at all about quality. If my only goal were to publish something then this would work, but I don't want to publish rubbish.The solution is not to let go of all standards, but to redefine them in a more helpful way.So instead of telling myself, "this isn't new", I can ask myself, "is this a useful idea that's worthy of repetition?"And instead of asking whether it's as good as my best, I can just give it my best shot and then try to make it slightly better.

Redefine expectations

Ask yourself what expectations you have of your own writing, and whether they are helping you reach a higher standard or holding you back. Then ask yourself whether you can redefine them in a useful way.So if you think that your thesis is your one chance to make a contribution to the body of knowledge, try thinking of it as the first attempt in your academic career.If you think your paper has to be the best ever published, try to think instead about whether it clearly communicates your ideas and addresses the research problem.And if you worry about other people's judgement, ask yourself; what's the worst that can happen?

See also:

Why some perfectionism is a good thingHow to train your inner writing criticHow to overcome writer's block[caption id="attachment_8039" align="alignleft" width="570"]

By Miguel Hermoso Cuesta - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link[/caption]

If you found this post useful, click below to share!

For more detailed guidance and support...

The PhD Academy

Weekly calls with James

You don't have to do it all alone! Get the All Access Pass for weekly group calls and Q&A sessions with James

Online courses

Build your skills and confidence with our detailed video courses. Go at your own pace and get advice and support when you need it

Writing groups

Meet other students online for company and accountability

Support community

Post questions, share resources and connect with other members

Get the book!
PhD: an uncommon guide to research, writing & PhD life

order now on amazon