Journaling for Perfectionists

Note: Ms. Lillypads is the winner of Mary Beth Shaw’s book. Congratulations! Send me your address and the book will be on its way!

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Saturday I’m teaching Journal Writing for Perfectionists. I was prepping the sample  technique pages earlier tonight (that’s some of them in the photo above)  and remembering how hard it is to be a perfectionist. All that control. All that belief that I could control other people, events, life. It sure took me a long time to learn control is not a virtue when it comes to other people.

But we do get  chances to be grateful. My first gratitude journal was thin and mostly blank. It’s easier now to be grateful.

Some guy in a Ford truck cut me off today. I decided it was a small price to pay for having so many smart blog readers who leave smart comments.

Later at the library, a lady was allowing her little girl to empty her purse and help find her library card. The little girl got distracted and the mother didn’t encourage her to find the library card so other people could use the check-out machine. The line behind me grew. Finally another woman cut in front of me and said, “I’m in a bigger hurry than you, I have kids.” I didn’t yell at her. It was in exchange for good friends who are kind and considerate. Once you get the hang of gratitude and give up control, life gets easier.

There are still some spaces in the class. It’s on Saturday, March 9 at Paradise Valley (AZ) Community College, from 9 a.m. to noon in Building Q.  Details and registration are on this page. You can have fun if you are a recovering perfectionist, too.

-Quinn McDonald is teaching grammar tomorrow and journaling on Saturday. This does not seem odd to her.

22 thoughts on “Journaling for Perfectionists

  1. Bless all you people who have patience with this. I guess I’m still struggling with this life lesson. Why do we have to just ignore the rudeness and inconsideration for others that our society seems to have lately? Ugh! It can be so frustrating at times.

    • Rudeness can be frustrating, irritating, infuriating. But after years of correcting people, pointing out how rude they are, and other devices I thought useful at the time, I have not changed one person’s behavior. So I was trying something else. And the amazing this is, I feel better being generous.

  2. At our library we have the option of normal check out or self-check out. I really like the ease of the self-check out, but sometimes I feel guilty for preferring no interaction and so I will go through the normal checkout process.

    I have three or four part started gratitude journals. I found one the other day and have been thinking about starting again.

    I wonder also at my vindictiveness because I don’t think rudeness is okay for the other good things in my life. When I come across rudeness I don’t hang on to it and try to let it go as soon as possible (inventing scenarios for them about why they felt compelled to do that helps me), but I don’t think of it as an exchange. Just a rude person, busy with life.

    However, after reading what Pete said I think I will now consider that I am donating that person time. I like the gracious reframing.

    • I had to come up with something, because what I was doing before (imagining me throwing them into a tank of hungry sharks) didn’t make me feel better. I love what Pete said. That is an image I can cope with.

  3. Pray tell me that you didn´t yell at her because you had already smacked her down.
    PS: looking for the correct expression I found that that “smack up” is a real phrasal verb. It means “The act of lining up a group of people, then slapping them down the line, before bringing your hand back down the line for another round of smacking.” Useful to know.
    PPS: I really know you didn´t. Blame my hormones for the visual. 😉

    • OMG, that visual made me laugh so hard. And you know, those thoughts cross my mind, too. I just have to let them keep crossing. When I begin to set the table for them and open a bottle of wine for them, then I’m in trouble.

  4. I’m with Pete here. What a great way to look at that experience.
    Our lives are so full of “things” to do. I remember when computers (for example) came on the scene. These devices were supposed to save us time and make our lives simpler. What happened? All the “time saving” devices out there only seem to eat up more time and our society is starved for good old human kindness and social skills.
    if more of us were able to get out of our own way and be so generous. And how much time did it really take? A few minutes? Nicely done, Quinn.

    • That line about computers saving time and making lives simpler was never anything but a sales pitch. It was just true enough to work. That is, it was kind of true for accountants and professional writers, but really not for anybody else.

      On the other hand, there’s never been anything quite like blogs before.

    • And one of the few entries in that thin and mostly blank books was, “I am grateful my boss has the flu.” I had a little bit of a hard time understanding the benefits of gratitude.

  5. Whenever things like that happen to me, I look away. Up at the ceiling. At the sky. Whatever takes me out of the bothersome area psychologically. I stare until I am no longer bothered by the person or people. Life is too short to get angry at all the rude people in the world. And these days there seem to be way too many of them.

    By the way, I got your book yesterday and I am so impressed. It is so interesting and helpful. I read somewhere where it is not for artists but it most certainly is. The writing prompts and design ideas are really great and I thank you for giving us all such food for thought……I love the coaching feel of the book. So different from all the others out there.

    • I’m going to be spending a LOT of time looking up at the sky! And thanks for the kind words about my book. Yes, several angry people said disheartening things on Amazon, that I was not an artist among them, but I got the distinct impression they had not read the book. Or looked at it past page 1. I’m glad you decided to order it anyway. And I’m even more thrilled that you noticed it was a coaching book. It is, indeed. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know if you want me to send you a signed bookmark. It’s not as great as a signed book, but it’s a real signature!

  6. Libraries have gone to check-out machines? How sad. But your gesture was certainly a generous response. Too bad the mom didn’t just move aside until the card was found.

    • Our local library has eliminated checking out for all non-hardcover books. You just take what you want. Unanticipated side-effect: the collection is growing as people return more books than they take.

      One the other hand, being repositories of books is the least important part of what libraries do.

      • I think this is really, really funny. Our library’s biggest activity is helping people get resumes ready. I just hope they all took a class so they aren’t telling people to do it the way they did it five years ago.

    • I have moved aside when I have a lot of items to check out, or drop my card and it flips under the nearest bookcase. But I was brought up differently. And I actually love the check out machines. We have three of them in our library, and they are in the process of updating them, so only one was functional. I can renew online, too!

  7. One way to look at what you did for that woman in the library: you dropped some cash in the cup of a poverty-stricken person. Except instead of being stricken by physical poverty, she was experiencing time-poverty. What you donated was time.

    • That is an excellent thought. I had not considered looking at it that way, and I’m delighted. I often give dollars to people who are holding signs at freeway ramps, and just like I don’t know (or care) what they do with it, I do not care if this woman was simply impatient or time impoverished. Great idea. Thanks, Pete!

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