Overcoming Writing Obstacles: Perfection Paralysis

Part 5 of the “6 Ways to Overcome Obstacles and Write High-Quality Articles in Large Quantities” video series.

No matter where you are in the world, you can find countless support groups and 12-step programs for whatever addiction, malady or obsession you might suffer from. There’s everything from Alcoholics Anonymous to Acne Sufferers International. The goal of these groups and programs is to help individuals overcome their inner demons and live happier, healthier lives.

Sadly, our stick figure friend Gary suffers from his own debilitating addiction. One that is undermining his livelihood by destroying his ability to write large quantities of highly-targeted, effective articles. His condition is called Perfection Paralysis. It causes Gary to have an overwhelming urge to make every article absolutely perfect before he submits it to EzineArticles.

Fortunately for Gary, there’s a support group for Perfection Paralysis right near his home. In this video, we’ll join Gary as he attends his very first meeting of Perfectionists Anonymous.

Downloadable Versions:
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Fortunately for Gary, there’s help for Perfection Paralysis sufferers. There’s help for you too! Just commit yourself to following our 12-step program and you’ll be writing busloads of articles in no time at all!

12 Steps to Overcoming Your Perfection Paralysis

  1. Accept that imperfect articles are not “bad or “wrong.”
  2. Understand that not publishing articles simply because they’re imperfect is wrong.
  3. Focus on quality content, rather than absolute perfection.
  4. Provide solutions to problems in your articles.
  5. Realize that most readers will overlook minor errors if content quality is high.
  6. Embrace the concept that 20 imperfect, traffic-driving articles are better than 3 perfect articles.
  7. Remember, perfection is exhausting!
  8. Reduce the temptation to tell your reader everything in one article.
  9. Provide enough information to fulfill the need of the reader, but leave enough unsaid to entice the reader to your website.
  10. Create an article production time line and stick to it.
  11. If you miss something in your article, write another article to address that missing information.
  12. Keep in mind that more high-quality, original articles = more traffic, so just write, submit and move on!

If you still need more help coping with your perfectionist ways, leave a comment below and we’ll be glad to offer a little support.


Eamon Greville writes:

Really useful advice – striving for perfection can be exhausting and dispiriting.

People will respond to slightly imperfect yet honest, high quality content laden material.

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM



Well now. I’m not as bad as Gary, thank goodness, but you made this video all about me. Let me grab my timer and some Tension Tamer tea. Wish me luck with an unheard of Three Articles in one day.

Today. Deep breaths. EFT. I can do this. Thanks!

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM


Lonnie Phillips writes:

Thanks for the info. I tend to be a “Gary” but I’m in recovery!! :)

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 12:11 PM


LoneWolf writes:

Can I get Gary to be my sponsor at PA 8=)

I struggle with this on my blogs as well as article directories. Thanks for the 12 steps!

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 12:35 PM


LoneWolf writes:

P.S. Why are there no links to the previous entries in this series?

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 12:39 PM


Adalia writes:

I think your are speaking to me. And I know better, most people will warm up to you – when you appear to be like them…human, with imperfections. If they are mesmerized by your content they will not be overly concerned about duplicate words. (something I did) and I pulled the article to fix it.

I will put my energy into the content and not worry about the small stuff.

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM


Stephen Guillen writes:

I’m just starting here. This is some really great advice! Thanks for stopping me before I get in to perfection mode :)

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM



I have gone off to sort out a website.

I was intending to promote some Clickbank programs.

I have since discovered,that EzineArticles do not permit links to affiliate programs.

I know,that Ezine are the best,therefore I have to do a little more work.

I will be back.

Perhaps you can send some advice,meanwhile.

Cheers !! Ray.

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM


John Weiss writes:

Whenever I state the benefits to be had by visiting my site the article gets rejected as too much promotion. Phrases like “you can learn” also get rejections.

I was not aware that I am able to submit more than one article per site. What is the limit?

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM



1-2 lines of self-promotional language in an article or language geared to learning/adding additional value is OK. Keep it simple and closer to the end of the article. If your overall article content is good, we’ll approve it.

Where we won’t is when your article adds no additional value and you sneak promotional jargon in to an already thin article.


John Weiss writes:

How often and how many articles may I submit for the same site?

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 2:41 PM



I’m not sure I understand your question. There is no limit on how many times you refer your readers to your website so long as your article adds value and stands alone.


Russ writes:

Hi Marc,
1 min and 10 seconds into yur vid you say the grammer doesn’t have to be perfect. Well if yur the boss you should set your proof readers straight cause we are having a little controversy over a questionable keyword. Or should they set you straight.
Thanks Dude,

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 2:51 PM



Your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect, however if you cannot write well, have someone proof your article for you because your credibility is on the line.

What we will not allow is grammatically incorrect/misspellings for SEO purposes. If your phrase reads wrong and/or you intentionally misspell a word, your article will get rejected.



It’s typically not my style to “set people straight,” nor am I the boss of the Editorial Team. I leave that job in the capable hands of those who can do it MUCH better than I can.


Russ writes:

“set people straight” I knew that was a poor choice of words and shoulda taken the time to change it but I didn’t next time I will thanks for pointing it out. However I’m not sure the proof readers are in agreement “the grammar doesn’t have to be perfect” from my experience and what they told me.
thanks for getting back Marc,



Loved this tutorial especially given I’m a Certified Group Psychotherapist. Seriously, I really am.

Here’s what I learned today. When I’ve forgotten a point I wanted to address in my original article I can author another article on the forgotten point! This works perfectly for my inside perfectionist that I am presently in recovery for and all the little people inside benefit.

Thanks for the help here today.

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 2:51 PM


Emily Sandstrom writes:

Mary Jane, I agree with you; that was a great point. I must have fifty articles I could write on points that were dropped when the muse took the article in one direction when material also could lead to another.


anthony writes:

I just got this in my email but I don’t remember getting part 1-4. Any idea where I can access those. This is really awesome as it’s speaking to me directly.

I suffer from the worst perfection paralysis case you can imagine. That has been caused by the fact that the first book I ever published went on to win a bronze medal for the “10 most outstanding books of the year award” and that was supposed to be a good thing except I can’t ever find anything else acceptable after that.

I need therapy. LOL


Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 6:33 PM


Here you go Anthony: http://ezinearticles.com/videos/nuggets-of-knowledge/


Emily Sandstrom writes:

“Perfect” is a matter of opinion. I don’t know whether other people think my articles are perfect, but, by damn, I do most of the time. And I don’t have anything to say unless I have something to say. It’s my brand, and I don’t want any insect parts in it.

Articles are rejected arbitrarily, for some really strange reasons. Get used to it, find a sense of humor about it, that’s the way it is.

I haven’t submitted anything since I was told my old, motheaten web site was a broken link or something, (Yes, it wasn’t much) but when I used to submit, that ‘yellow box monster,’ (since reformed, as they say) used to make the most irrelevant remarks, like saying I was ‘self-promoting’ when I wrote about a sparrow’s life, like saying a sentence was ungrammatical when they had to agree it was healthy…but rewrite it anyway. (I rewrote the introduction they requested, an explanation that mentioned what I did for a living and explained it in detail; isn’t that ‘self-promotion’? –and it was immediately published.)

I wrote what I felt was a shamelessly self-promoting article, and it sailed through, no problem. (It was a great story and would support expensive ads.)

Now that I have a web site I can be proud of, I will submit six months or so of articles (Maybe 25?). I have my fingers crossed about that experience. I have pretty much decided if they like it fine, if they don’t fine, I need not dicker with them.

We perfectionists do tend to be arrogant, don’t we?

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 7:43 PM


Devin writes:

I have written three articles and went to upload them and can’t get the hang of the HTML rules. Advice? Resources? Help!

Comment provided June 21, 2010 at 9:39 PM



Typically, Meta Tags are brought over when pasting from Microsoft Word. To see the prohibited code in your article, you can “Turn WYSIWYG Off.” (What You See is What You Get)

From here, you can remove any prohibited HTML code or “Meta Tags.” Or, if you have the ‘WYSIWYG On’ and see large amounts of blank lines before or after the article body, I suggest removing them.

To avoid this prohibited HTML code in the future, try using the “Paste From Word” feature on the WYSIWYG Editor. To do this, “Turn WYSIWYG On” and click the Blue “W” icon to ‘Paste from Word.’



Thanks for this wonderful article. If I omit a point in an article and need to correct it in the subsequent one, would I need a new title?

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 12:58 AM



If the information you provided is wrong in an article, fix that article. If you want to add another article to add another step or point then we recommend a new title.

Each title should provide the reader with an idea of what they are going to read. No article should ever share the same title.


Rocky Torres writes:

I really believe that if you like writing, you must accept that imperfect articles are not “bad” or “wrong.”

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 4:07 AM


zahid writes:

A simple help that high-lights the misspelled word or sentences grammar could speedup article submission?

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 5:25 AM


Peter Tozer writes:

I know that I’m not perfect in my writing – but I strive for it.

I try to put my article to one side for a day and then re-visit it before hitting the submit button; I usually find something to correct or tinker with.

The spell checker cannot always be relied upon!


Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 6:04 AM


Zahid and Peter,

Have you tried our new BETA submit form? The spellchecker has been improved.


Spence writes:

Great advice.

Gettng the “perfect” article takes way too much time and is quite draining. My best articles are usually the ones where I just write and not overthink them.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 7:45 AM



Thank you for the tips, Penny! I’ll give it another try.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 8:57 AM


Charlene Dick writes:

This is awesome!! THANKS! BTW: I really like Gary as an instructional aide. Makes me smile.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 9:20 AM


I’ll let him know! ;-)


Russ writes:

Apparently you didn’t look into the situation.
Thanks anyway.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM


Russ writes:

The above was supposed to be attached to my post #11 (in response to Penny’s comment)

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM


LoneWolf writes:

I thought Penny answered your question. The fact that you’re talking about a keyword tells me that you’re using incorrect grammar for SEO purposes. Penny’s answer says quite clearly what their policy is on that.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM


Russ writes:

“the fact that you’re talking about a keyword tells me that you’re using incorrect grammar…
That’s insightful.


LoneWolf writes:

Do you always misquote people and have snide remarks? You must win every argument you enter.

Quote the rest of the sentence instead of cutting off the final phrase and you’ll have your insight.

The proof readers obviously think you’re trying to use incorrect grammar to boost your SEO. You say you’re arguing about a keyword which confirms that it is about SEO. It isn’t just a slip, it is intentional.

If you have any proof that this is an incorrect insight, please feel free to share the details with us.



I will have to go and read the rules properly,when I have enough time.

I may be understanding things incorrectly.

I am quite new at this.

The products I work with are for improvements to the home.

Am I permitted to link an Ezine Article to one of my Twitter Sites ??

I am actually studying WordPress at present,which I think will be better,but if I was allowed to use Twitter,I could easily write some educational articles.

I do feel the need to have an address,in order that I may invite my followers/readers to come and visit my territorial domain.

I still feel,that a BLOGG SITE or WEB SITE is more impressive.

I do check my dictionary on occasions,as I write.

I am also aware,that English and American do spell words differently,and sometimes I am not sure whether to put : eg : color or colour

If Twitter is an acceptable web address,then I will be writing EzineArticles immediately,whilst I build my first BLOGG.

Cheers !! Ray.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM


Raymond – First of all, welcome!

Second, yes, you can link to a Twitter home page from your article’s Resource Box.

Don’t worry about using British vs. American English. We accept both. :-)

Best of luck!


Women Business writes:

The determination readers manifestly guess you’re trying to use inaccurate grammar to supercharge your SEO. You say you’re arguing active a keyword which confirms that it is near SEO. It isn’t fitting a miscue, it is wilful.

Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM


Russ writes:

Apparently I stirred up some contraversy which demands an explanation from me. It was a nongrammatical keyword yes. I changed it to a grammatical keyword BEFORE I submitted it. The proof reader and I are in disagreement as to whether or not it is grammatical. I believe it is correct but if it isn’t it’s a matter of splitting hairs. And if articles “don’t have to have PERFECT grammar (1min 8seconds into the video) the toss up should go to the author. If it doesn’t go to the author then the grammar DOES have to be perfect.


There are some issues regarding article marketing that require perfection and others that don’t. Typically, grammar and spelling do not require it, but certain aspects of keywords, etc. DO require it.

Since the video you’re quoting is produced by my team, I felt it appropriate to address your comment. The remainder of the details, including interpretation of the rules, I leave in the very capable hands of Penny and our editorial staff.


Russ writes:

ha ha ok I accept that:)
Thanks Marc,



Well, it’s been hot outside and that can get to people, don’t you think?

I can’t offer anyone a cold drink but how about a nice story about my winter trip to VT? It will help us here.


Comment provided June 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM


Kim NoBS writes:

OMG HAHA! I can’t stop laughing…AT MYSELF! I’m sitting here with a notebook FULL of ideas, etc., when I chanced across this article and video. I *still* haven’t submitted my first article because I’m too dern scared it won’t be perfect…how big of a goof am I??

Thank you guys for ‘Gary’…I need a good dose of a reality check here…I’m off to actually finish and submit a possibly almost-perfect article. Wish me luck and thanks again!!

Comment provided June 25, 2010 at 7:56 PM


Good luck, Kim! Gary and the rest of the group are rooting for you!


Kim NoBS writes:

I did it, Marc! *whew* One article down and only 1,000 or so more to go…I feel so accomplished! :-D

Okay…I’m off to try Emily Sandstrom’s suggestion. Shhh…if I haven’t posted another article by tomorrow afternoon, you guys will know it either didn’t work, or I haven’t recovered yet. :-D Wish me luck again (and drop some Excedrin in the mail while you’re at it)


Congratulations, Kim! I think 1,000 articles is a great goal to strive for, but don’t let it overwhelm you. An informal poll we recently did on Facebook tells us that many members start seeing significant traffic results with only 5-10 articles! Make that your initial goal and the traffic you receive should be enough to motivate you to your next goal.



was a great article was very beautiful and impressive writing, then this site will continue to follow the success was very helpful

Comment provided June 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM


Geoff writes:

I must admit I do try to make it as perfect as possible, but mainly as far as grammar, spelling and punctuation are concerned. Worrying too much about how good the content is can be a bit pointless, as everything is subjective anyway.

Comment provided July 5, 2010 at 5:12 AM



I have joined WordPress Goldmine Forum :

So that I may build Quality Websites for my Articles :

My Web Presence is growing continuously and I am

PROUD to be here :

Cheers !! Ray.

Comment provided July 30, 2010 at 12:02 PM



If you search on Google for Joyce and Ray Lavin

you will find more information on how I am

learning to become an expert author :

Cheers !! Ray.

Comment provided July 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM


Jo Ann Hancock writes:

I am one who suffers from perfection paralysis so I know how debilitating it can be! I have learned to write in a totally different way to get myself out of this trap.

I just start typing – free thinking – not worrying about continuity, spelling, or anything other than thoughts about the topic. Then I leave it for a few hours, go back and start organizing and connecting ideas. I’ll leave it again for a while.

I’ll go back again, edit, revise and keep this cycle going until I am happy with it. It works very well for me and I usually end up with a very good result.

Comment provided July 30, 2010 at 7:20 PM


Russ writes:

Hey Jo Ann that’s what the thirty day challenge (now called the challenge) is currently treaching, or pretty darn close to it.
For 10 minutes write as fast as you can and do not edit and come back the nest day. I guess the idea is the mind will work on it during the hours you are away. Haven’t tried it yet but plan to, it sounds good.

Comment provided August 2, 2010 at 12:07 PM


Emily Erickson-Sandstrom writes:

Reading all this, I have one suggestion: Get close to drunk and write away without inhibition. When you sober up, take a look at it. Fix it up. Throw it out. Whatever. Some of it will be brilliant, some trash. I learned to write poetry this way until I … perfected my technique.

Comment provided August 3, 2010 at 4:21 AM


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