Dont' get too precious about your words

Holding on too tightly to our words can be a barrier instead of a bridge toward better communication.


Tony Hackett


a person with a colorful head and not being too precious about their words
a person with a colorful head and not being too precious about their words

I understand the importance of crafting well-written and meaningful content as a writer. However, I also know that sometimes writers can get too precious about their words.

What do I mean by "too precious"? This refers to writers who become attached to their words and are hesitant to edit or change them in any way. They may feel that their words are perfect as they are, and any suggestion for revision will be seen as a personal attack on their writing abilities.

This mindset often stems from a need for more confidence in one's writing skills. Having others critique your work can be intimidating, but remember that all writers can benefit from constructive feedback.

Being willing to revise and refine your writing is crucial for improving your skills. No writer produces polished prose on the first draft. We all need to go back and make changes, cut out unnecessary phrasing or add more detail where needed.

Additionally, being generous about your words opens up the possibilities for collaboration with other writers or editors. These professionals can offer valuable insights into improving your work and its quality.

One of the key benefits of collaboration is receiving feedback from individuals who are experienced in different areas than you. For example, an editor may have expertise in structuring ideas or spotting grammatical errors you might not even know. This input can help you take your work to the next level.

Another advantage of not being too precious about your words is that it lets you view your writing. When we become attached to specific phrases or paragraphs we've written, it can be tough to see them objectively. By taking a step back and viewing our work with fresh eyes (and with the help of collaborators), we can identify areas that need improvement.

Of course, this isn't always easy – mainly if you've spent much time working on a particular piece. However, if you can learn to detach yourself from your writing and view it with an analytical eye, you'll be able to make the necessary changes.

Finally, learning not to be too precious about your words can lead to a more enjoyable writing experience. When fixated on producing perfect writing, we may burn out or become uninspired in our work. On the other hand, if we approach writing as a process of discovery and exploration that allows us to play around with language and test out different ideas, we may find ourselves energized and excited about our work.

Of course, you should still strive for high-quality content. Instead, focus on balancing valuing your craft and being open to change and collaboration.

So how can you overcome the "too precious" mindset? Here are some tips:

  1. Remind yourself that receiving feedback is okay (and even beneficial).

  2. Practice viewing your work after taking breaks between writing sessions or having others critique it.

  3. Take criticism as an opportunity for growth instead of a personal attack on your abilities.

  4. Try working with others to get new perspectives and ideas.

  5. Embrace experimentation when writing – sometimes, the best writing happens when we take risks!

In conclusion, while taking pride in our work as writers matter, we should always strive for growth and improvement over perfectionism. This means not getting too precious about our words or holding onto them so they become barriers instead of bridges toward better prose. By embracing constructive feedback, staying objective, collaborating with others, risking experimentation, and remaining flexible, writers can break free from the trap of perfectionism while still making their voices heard through their written words.