A Letter to the Author of How To Be an Imperfectionist

Dear Stephen Guise,

I would like you to put a link on your blog to my blog because I want to be like you and give advice based on what I know, but you might wait a minute since I have to write a blog that is completely unlike yours. We have exactly opposite problems. I am a Black/African-American woman reaching a mature age, no matter how hard I fight maturity, with invisible disabilities, not to bring race and gender into it, but it is in fact a difference. I do not have the problem of trying to ask a girl out in a haphazard way. I am the nice, God-loved single woman who would like a nice, humble guy to get nervous in a supermarket about talking to a beautiful woman and say, “Excuse me, miss, I don’t do this very often, but can I get your number?” I have the problem of some slick dude, or one who thinks he’s slick, asking me like I should definitely fall for him, or at least I used to, darn it. I am not sure about anything other than you are absolutely right, correct, and outstandingly sure of yourself that you sat down and wrote your books while trying to get out of writing on days when you did not feel like writing. I write all the time, but to myself, and most of the time, I do not read what I wrote.

Then I read Artist’s Way, a book that is supposed to get people, especially older women, to release their creative side. I joined the group interested in helping myself through listening to other people, as I often do. Well, I don’t have a plain side. Even my basic black pants leave a statement, mainly that I have cats and don’t try to impress people in spotless pants when the cats are all around my darn house. It is a house I own, and I have made no changes to it, nor have I thought of selling it to buy a new one. When I get through with messing around, and that is was at last week’s Artist’s Way meeting, as you can see, I will be able to buy a nicer home and keep this house as a spare house, unsoiled by mean renters who would leave holes in the walls and damage the clean floors. I am a writer, and doggone it, it is time to write about what I know.

However, what I know is struggle and how to beat struggling, and I also am fortunate to get blessed, like this house in the first place, the one without the quiet place to meditate. How is the house noisy when I am the one who controls it? Well, perfection and the art of writing cover the walls, surrounding me with unfinished projects and thick books that OTHER AUTHORS FINISHED. When Kayla Dane of came to the group last week and became my partner, at her age and with a child, she had monetized her site already. What is her site about? Being a mom, being young, being depressed and anxious, being herself, whatever she wants to write down that day. She has too many opportunities to write!! She was complaining about having too much work to do! How did she monetize her site? She found sites that used products she wanted, she wrote about them, and then they paid her and gave her free stuff. What happened to the struggle to find work? Being a freelance writer is hard, isn’t it? No! She wrote so much and so well, she is too busy!! That’s what inspired my blog post, Make Money Being a Self-Employed Freelance Writer by Trusting Your Boss . The whole book she was coming to hear about is based on something she does not have: fear. She doesn’t fear ugly posts on Facebook. She doesn’t fear anything. She definitely doesn’t fear becoming me, so I have no advice to give my non-22-year-old self. I have asked older people what they would tell their 46-year-old selves, and I was given this sage advice: take more naps. Everyone else had very little they regretted by the time they were 46. By the time I had started asking them, they were used to the mistakes they had already made and couldn’t change. At 80, 46 is too far away to even miss.

I tell people all the time to read your books, How to Be an Imperfectionist, capitalized correctly since I am an English teacher, and Mini-Habits, which drove me insane trying to emulate. I have no habits that can be turned into miniature snippets. I can’t wash one dish or clean half the litter box at one time. I want to be rich enough, no, I want to start a company, LBCE, Inc., Litter Box Cleaners Extraordinaire, and make millions of dollars because whenever I try to get someone to clean my house, even the people who would ask someone say, “They/we don’t have to clean the litter boxes, huh?” Dear, that’s the whole point of hiring someone. I can wash and fold my own clothes, and cleaning the kitchen takes 30 minutes, a long stretch of Energy Capital for me sometimes, but still, yes, clean the darn litter boxes. But yes, the Imperfectionist book is a crazy helpful book. Just the title says so much, a true reader of the book wouldn’t have to spend the money; just knowing such a book exists cures a lot of anxiety.

If you notice typos in this, I am not shocked. I am an English major, English teacher, and paid freelance editor, and sometimes “get paid when I sell the books” editor, ick, but since I need to start blogging my own terms and words, and since my level of optimism cannot match yours as you travel around the world cat-free with no students to torture, but since you wrote the book, you will not ding me for whatever you think is off.  But son, really, shy men asking shier women out is what shier women count on, so you will find your soulmate if you just quit trying to work on being The Perfect James Bond Canova Beast. Confident women want confident men, yes, but if women were confident anyway, we wouldn’t wear makeup at all, trying to cover freckles that God put on our faces in special ways. Don’t identical twins with freckles have them in different places? That’s so people who really know them can tell them apart. God was creative when he made individuals individual. That’s why Adam and Eve were two totally different people. Duh!  You’re doing great. I want to be like you like I want to be like J.K. Rowling, who went from being a welfare mother to the richest woman in Scotland. She is the inventor of Harry Potter, in case you have NEVER heard of him. You know, the ride in Florida. I don’t want her style, and I am not possibly going to try for her creativity, but her money, that I’ll completely copy, no strings attached. Can I be the next Oprah? No, I cannot. She knew my uncle when they were younger, and knowing my uncle now is an experience in itself. I want to be the best Lynette Gough, pronounced like cough, don’t cough at me, daughter of Walter Gough, M.D., "If you have a cough, come to Doctor Gough," I can be.

Please give me permission to link to your site, and when it is closer to perfect, please link to mine, . Thank you, and have a wonderful yearlong vacation. Personally, I need to know exactly how to say “Help, get an ambulance and the police,” or "Can you take any less for that?" if I need to, but that’s just me. Keep it up, kid!

With peace, I end this,

Lynette Gough, Owner, Make a Great Impression

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