2019 · June

Giving Up Control

Hello, Readers!

I am a control freak and a perfectionist. Knowing is half the battle, right? That actually sounds like some odd 12 step program there. Hello, my name is Misty and I’m a control freak and perfectionist.

It had gotten worse over the last few years. The carts when we’d go to groceries stores had to be mine to push, also, nobody else could lead the way because I needed to be in control so much. I had carefully planned out how to go about doing the bi-weekly grocery shopping. I knew what was on the list and the quickest routes to them.

At home, everything had to be cleaned to my standards and if they weren’t doing it my way it would drive me to the brink of insanity and I’d take over. Granted they’d learned that and had started using that to their advantage to get out of chores as well.

Not only did it affect my personal life, but it also got my work as well. I started to meticulously plot out characters, plotlines, and every detail. There wasn’t a detail that I simply hadn’t thought of. While it did allow for a more rounded plot in some aspects it also created characters that maybe weren’t as rounded as they could have been.

During this time, I picked up perfectionism as a co-captain to the control. If I was going to take all that time to keep in control and stress myself out, it better be perfect. That type of control demanded it. All that planning had to account for something, right?

I believe earlier this year I wrote a blog about my perfectionism and how it affects my writing. It made it very difficult to want to finish projects and when I did, if they weren’t so perfect when I hit the end of that FIRST draft I was depressed.

The first draft, y’all. The draft designed to be the trash draft. It is merely there to make sure that all of the pieces are down and you can go back through and smooth it all out.

Still, my perfectionism demanded it be correct. If it wasn’t then the depression ruled out and I stopped writing most things. It was a horrible cycle and one I wasn’t sure how to break.

However, this year I decided I wasn’t going to let it control my life any longer. So, I started by making little changes and working within them. I had the family clean places and even when they weren’t up to my standard, I didn’t kick them out and I didn’t go back later and fix it.

It took a lot for me not to do those things and at first, I thought it might be enough to give me a nervous twitch of some form, but the more I allowed it to happen, like a muscle it got easier and easier. So, much to my families dismay they now had to help me with the cleaning once more.

I thought that was a great place to start. You can insert your own evil laugh there. I know I chuckle every time I remember it.

The next step to helping ease that control issue was the basket at the stores. I handed that over to the hubby man to push. I still remained in control of the grocery list and the direction, but I allowed him to push the cart. Granted, I admit that in the beginning, I got extremely frustrated when he was all of the aisles.

Like the other, the more I gave up that control, the more the panic eased inside of me. The next point was to recite off the grocery list to him and allow him to lead as well.

By this point, it was getting easier and easier to do these things and I began to relax during our trips out. I even had him pick up supplies when needed without having to be there. Which, again, major accomplishment for me.

While these things helped to release that perfectionism and control issues for the most part, occasionally I do still have my bad days, but for the most part, it doesn’t show its ugly head much, my work life was still plagued by all this

The more control I needed over my work and the meticulous plotting of all things, it really sucked the fun out of my work. I still wrote, but it was like doing a dot to dot as an adult. You knew the picture you were creating, but you were following a preplanned design.

None of that sparked much creativity or really allowed much movement. So, that had to be the next area I attacked. However, that wasn’t as easy said than done.

Every time it looked like I was going to release that control, something would happen that caused me to panic and I instantly went right back to the way I was doing things. It became my comfort zone and I really didn’t want to leave that. However, I was wise enough to know that doing my writing that way, while good, wasn’t the standard that I thought I was capable of.

That meant going back to the drawing board. I won’t claim to be over this particular hurdle. While I’ve made some progress I believe it was aided by the accomplishments I’d done in the other areas of my life. I mean, if I could release all that control and my entire world didn’t collapse around me, I could give it a try with my writing, right?

I don’t have this area fixed yet, but I am working on it. Maybe once it is done I will write a blog on how I’m working to loosen this part of my life up as well. I can say that so far what I have done seems to be working and I’ve really taken a joy to writing once more.

Until next time, remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing,

2 thoughts on “Giving Up Control

  1. This really hit home with me. I make my grocery list then I put it in order of how it sits as we walk down the isles. Perfect roadmap. I don’t have to leadbut I top from behind lol. Telling whoever is in front grab this, so many of that. They finally drop behind so they are t doing all the work lol.
    On the work front I stress over the first draft. The next story I want to try getting my characters set up a tentative plot or summary and self edit as I go making this my actual draft. Good luck to you!

    1. Thank you, Cat. It has been rather freeing to work without being so strict with myself. I’m also learning to be okay with not pushing myself to ridiculous limits. I sit down with a tentative goal and then I focus on the scenes from there.

      While I could still use to stop wasting so much time scrolling social media, I’m still getting my work done. I will get there one step at a time. Good luck with your work and plotting as well.

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