I've just won Write Invite's weekly competition: you can see my entry here WriteInvite website. It's an interesting format; at 5pm every Saturday, three themes are posted up, and you have half an hour to write a story. The editor chooses the shortlist, and all members vote for their favourite.
I've always liked writing exercises, because they send you off on tangents you wouldn't have thought of otherwise, and that can be a rich source of material. So it was fun to do, and I didn't expect anything more of it. But if you win, your story is up there for all the world to see, and that's another ballgame altogether!
I suffer from perfectionism, and I've spent far too much time not doing things as a result. Here's a quick test: have you ever been given one of those beautiful books full of blank paper? And if you have, what did you do with it? If you put it away and never used it, or gave it away because you couldn't bear the silent challenge it posed, you're probably a perfectionist. And it kills creativity. The pages stay blank.
Of course, stories need honing and re-drafting, and you do the best you can before you put them out there. If I'd been writing the Write Invite story in the usual way, I'd have done a lot more work on it before I was satisfied. But it's too late now, so there it is, warts and all. It's very confronting! And a really useful lesson, too. Imperfect as the story was, it was good enough to win. And since perfectionism is arrogance in disguise, that's a nice take-down. If you're a fellow sufferer, I recommend it.