Feeling Pressure to Write?

This Week In Writing, we explore the life and writing lessons about pressure and perfection from the movie Encanto.

Feeling Pressure to Write?
Source: Disney

Chances are you’ve watched Disney’s Encanto a dozen times this month. The movie with catchy, chart-topping lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a global phenomenon. TikTok videos reproduce the dance moves and dive deep into the hidden meaning and Easter eggs stuffed throughout the fantastic film.

During our third viewing last week alone, I began to think about the lessons Encanto shares about life. (Minor spoilers follow.)

Two of the main characters have revelations set to song. Luisa, “the strong one,” laments the pressure she always feels to carry everyone’s weight and burdens. Isabela, “the perfect one,” perfection hinders creativity. Both songs are incredibly layered and filled with psychological realities that writers can learn.

Do you feel pressure to write? What about the pressure to publish perfectly edited writing? There’s a lot of weight that comes with these pressures. I’m a perfectionist, so catching typos after posting or sending drives me nuts. But, here’s what I’ve learned over time and what Encanto shows so well: all that pressure only serves to weigh us down.

I see typos in novels written by the most prominent authors — these are books that pass through scores of editors and teams of proofreaders. Despite all of those eyes, typos still come through. Now, that’s not an excuse to give up trying or to publish without editing — don’t do that. However, it’s a reminder that we’re human. We’re going to make mistakes, and we’re going to miss things. It’s not the end of the world.

Plus, when we give in to the pressures of perfectionism and production, we hinder our writing. Sure, we might write something, but will it be our best work? Likely not.

Learn from the Family Madrigal and take some of the pressure off yourself. You’re human.

How do you free up the pressures of perfectionism and production and focus on producing your best work?

Justin Cox Justin Cox

Justin Cox is a donut-loving, word-writing, nonprofit consultant based in Orlando. He also runs The Writing Cooperative on Medium. Come say hello!