Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

What do you want?

Video 039

First things first! Are you a perfectionist? You can take the quiz from this book to find out if any of these things resonate with you. You may be interested to know that I am a Parisian perfectionist (mais oui!) with heavy doses of procrastinating and messy perfectionism.

Here is the something else from The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control which has been blowing my mind: Schafler quotes a study from the 1970s about the stages of making a change. The study focused on people who quit smoking successfully, and found that there are five stages of making a change and having it stick: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.1 That first step, precontemplation, is before you are even thinking about making a change. It’s like the change is floating around in the air, waiting for you to start contemplating it. And the thing is, precontemplation is still one of the stages. So, right now, when you’re not even sure what changes you’re going to make in the future — you’re already at step one. And then, when you start thinking about specifics, but not doing anything about it, you’ve made your way to step two already. And sure, there is a lot of time and work in action and maintenance, but you need all of the steps.


Let’s say you’re going to write a book. The first step of that will be that there are book ideas that exist, in the astral plane or whatever, and you’re going about your business and not thinking about them. Really the thing you need to do in this stage is be open and ready for…something. And then you start to get inklings of this book idea, and you start to think, “Hey, I could write a book. I think this idea could work.” Then you prepare. You see where you could carve out 45 minutes every morning before everyone else wakes up. You buy a new notebook, a subscription to Freedom, a Scrivener license, whatever it is you need. And then! Then you start writing. And it’s messy and hard work, but you keep doing it, until you really realize you can do it, and soon getting up 45 minutes earlier isn’t only something you can do, it’s something you want to do, and something you crave.

Mostly I just really like this idea that, right now, we’re all already at step one.

Do the Work is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


Morgan Schafler, Katherine. The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: Portfolio/Penguin, 2023, p. 198

Do the Work
Pep talks about writing and creativity, mostly while I'm walking the dog.
Julie Falatko