Today’s guest is Tad Frizzell, author of Letters to a Perfectionist, released on Kindle this week.
Having always been a perfectionist myself, Tad’s 22 letters provide much food for thought and – at the time of writing this blogpost – there are 20+ reviewers on Amazon who agree with me: this is a must-read book.
When did you start writing, Tad?
I have been scribbling out poems all my life, along with some short stories, but I always hid my writing away and rarely shared it with others until this year.
I describe the fear, shame, and other reasons in my book Letters to a Perfectionist: On Shame, Fear, Love, and the Surprising Spiritual Nature of Perfectionism.
When did you start writing seriously?
It was in February of 2016. I was in Paris and made the firm decision to begin writing seriously. What better place, the city of so many literary legends, to begin a writing career?
My fiction writing career started in Venice, another amazing place, but let’s not argue!
What was your approach to writing in the early days?
I discovered something about myself: I was able to write for several hours each morning and enjoy every minute of it. The time passed very quickly, every time I sat down to write.
And, as I went out walking in the City of Lights, I had so many ideas for books that I had to stop often to make notes on my phone so I wouldn’t forget them.
Still, the writing was disorganized and I ended up with many files in Google Docs, on iCloud, and stuck in other files and folders.
Everyone starts this way? It’s chaotic!
At what point did you discover Scrivener?
I had returned to California and was working, focusing on a novel which I had begun in Paris, when I broke my ankle. This was one of the best things which ever happened to me, though it may seem strange to say.
I spent the time laid up with a cast not only writing, but learning about self-publishing. I’ve always liked good order and try to do everything in a professional way. So, after watching a webinar on Scrivener, I went for it.
Shame about your ankle. I broke mine about 10 years ago. Frustrating times?
But these training summits provide an excellent opportunity for a crash course. And so many writers discover the existence of Scrivener, when self-publishing ‘experts’ wax lyrical about this tool.
What made you start writing Letters to a Perfectionist?
I’ve had an unusual life, filled with mountains, monasteries, and travels in foreign lands. When I look inside, I see a mosaic of experiences and characters and words, elements which I plan to spend the rest of my life bringing forth in my writing.
While recovering from that broken ankle, I laid the novel aside and began writing about something very important to me: the problem of perfectionism and my experience of perfectionism as a spiritual problem.
It’s something which led me to a severe burnout a couple of years ago. And, I see other people suffering from perfectionism and the associated issues of shame, fear, depression, anxiety to mention only a few.
It was just something that I needed to ‘get off my chest’.
Scrivener was part of the process.
I opened up a new Scrivener project and put all the content I had accumulated from the free-writing practice I had allowed myself during my convalescence into the Research section.
I had already made the decision to use an unusual format — a collection of letters — so I created 22 folders and started outlining the book I had decided to publish.
Following the process advocated in Self-Publishing School, a few weeks later, I had a rough draft ready for self-editing.
How expert are you at using Scrivener?
I know that I don’t use all the features and I am far from any level of expertise, but I really enjoyed pulling all of my writing from various files and folders and organizing it in Scrivener.
Like any artist, I like great tools. Scrivener is one of the tools which makes it easier for me to give birth to the words inside me.
Any particular Scrivener features that work well for you?
I found that I’m not very good with drawing mind-maps but outlining a book in Scrivener just by opening up folders and documents in the project and making a few notes in each of them worked very well for me.
I also like knowing that my work in Scrivener is always backed up on Dropbox, as I often travel for my business. You never know when a laptop can be stolen or damaged, so the backup feature gives me peace of mind.
More about Tad Frizzell
Tad shares his journey to date on his website: http://tadfrizzell.com.
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