Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is a new favorite. I slurped it down quicker than the cream-laden coffee nearby.

Simple advice, yes. But who knew a cheap spiral notebook would set me free?

“Think, too, about your notebook. It is important. This is your equipment, like hammer and nails to a carpenter. Sometimes people buy expensive hardcover journals. They are bulky and heavy, and because they are fancy, you are compelled to write something good. Instead you should feel that you have permission to write the worst junk in the world and it would be okay. Give yourself a lot of space in which to explore writing. A cheap spiral notebook lets you feel that you can fill it quickly and afford another.”

Bound pages, devoid of ink, line my bookshelves anticipating “just the right words” to one day be written upon them. How had I missed such an obvious sign of perfectionistic emptiness? So freeing was this revelation that I immediately hopped in my car and headed to Target for…you guessed it, cheap spiral notebooks.

A different color notebook for each genre now awaits my writing time each day. It’s amazing how one simple change can be so freeing.

Perfectionism, whether it be in the sphere of writing, organization, appearance, or a particular skill can stifle God’s best for us. A cheap spiral notebook may not be everyone’s answer to stifling perfectionism, but pinpointing our area of vulnerability is the first step in making that one change that may just set us free.