My Name is Maya, and I’m a Perfectionist

Maya Bairey
3 min readFeb 2, 2024

I began writing this blog post in the same dumb way I did all last year: I chose a topic, researched keywords, read similar recent articles, then made an outline using AI. I tinkered with data for two hours before opening a window to write a single word. Despite the detailed preparation, I’m still not ready to commit thoughts to paper. But, I’m going to do it anyway.

You may have noticed that for five months I’ve been MIA on social media and my website. Back in August 2023, I attended an inspiring writer’s conference, meeting accomplished artists and feeling dazzled by the complex information shared by professionals. I couldn’t wait to explore and conquer both business and craft. Rather than moving forward with my writing, I gleefully sank myself into all the new tools and ideas, assembling them into a strong professional framework, building towers of branding and organization. You should see my grand intelligent plans!

Perfectionism’s Grip

I won’t say it wasn’t useful, but it didn’t get me closer to publishing Painting Celia. It reeled me backwards, away from my goal, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I wanted. You see, I can’t publish this book until it’s ready!

That’s handy, because my book will never be ready. It’s not for a lack of effort! I fully edited it seven times; over a half-million words touched and rearranged. I have had it critiqued and analyzed and perused by agents. I’ve bemoaned the need for cuts, better pacing, and instantly-relatable characters. I’ve talked with other authors who say seven drafts isn’t half as many as they’ve had to do. I hired a brilliant writing coach and fought her every step of the way.

To avoid finalizing Painting Celia, I wrote another book. It’s in its second draft. You’ll hear about it eventually, but guess what — it’s not ready.

At that writer’s conference, I discussed art with a woman I met between seminars. We both paint, it turned out, and we showed each other photos of our work. Well, I could only show one. The rest are unfinished, not good enough, messy and muddy. The colors on the canvas didn’t capture what I felt in my heart so I stopped before I could fail. This woman, bless her, laughed and insisted that I send her photos of messy art the next time I made some.

I didn’t. I’ve started four paintings since then, but stopped working on each halfway through. I found more peace in stopping than in creating art that didn’t mirror perfectly the ideas I feel inside. To date I’ve put just one piece of art into this world, my one completed painting. I can’t show it to you here because it’s a nude self portrait and I’m not ready.

Confronting Imperfection

This blog post itself isn’t ready. The urge to run it through an AI tool for tips is strong. Actually, I’ll admit that I just caved and spent 20 minutes tinkering with keywords and formatting. The itch to delay until every angle has been considered is too strong, and I have to take baby steps. However, I am going to give it to you now, in all its imperfections. I’m practicing being ready.

It physically hurts to write these words, but I can’t bring myself to change Painting Celia any further. It is where it wants to be. It’s not the most marketable, the most gripping, the most brilliantly paced book ever written, but it’s told as I wanted to tell it. It’s a good story! The language is beautiful! The emotions and imagery and vulnerability are authentic and deeply felt. It’s not bad, it’s just not perfect.

The book, like its author, is not ready in the conventional sense, but I think I’m going to send you some messy art anyway.

I confess, I still spent the weekend creating a book launch plan in a color-coded spreadsheet, complete with calendar hits and dropdown status selectors. Obviously, there’s a progress graph. I do love languishing in my comfort zone of planning and preparing! There are 103 well-researched tasks on the list, and the first is to write this blog post. ☑️

The last task on the list is to publish Painting Celia. It launches on March 22, 2024.

Originally published on bairey.com

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Maya Bairey

Maya Bairey pens tales of relatable, stuck characters who find solutions within, aided by real relationships. Discover her book, Painting Celia, at bairey.com.