The article, book, poem, or fill-in-the-blank of whatever medium you are writing at the time sits in front of you. But you cannot move because you are paralyzed. You do not know what to write.
Well, maybe you do. You just don’t think it’s good enough.
Maybe you wrote several paragraphs or hundreds of pages. It’s not good enough, so you wad it up and throw it away or empty it into the recycle bin on the laptop.
You want a bestselling novel. You want hundreds of blog views. You want people to tell you how you are a brilliant writer.
You want perfection.
But you can’t have it.
No one can have it.
Perfection doesn’t belong to you or me or anyone else. Why? Because there is no such thing. It’s impossible, improbable, and fictional.
Stop thinking like that. Because as a writer, you find that it’s a dark hole that sinks you.
Believe me, I know.
I’m a perfectionist.
The Art of Perfection
I’ve written 15 novels.
Okay, I’ve written three novels. But I wrote a whole hell of a lot of words in 12 novels. What happened to the 12 novels?
They’re in the great novel eater in the sky. I wrote halfway through them but deemed them not good enough. Then, I deleted, threw away, or discarded them in some form or fashion.
For years, I wanted it all. I wanted to be a bestselling novelist. I also wanted respect and deemed a “literary genius.”
Yes, I am serious. My goal was to be a renowned writer and earn a fortune.
I wanted everyone to love my writing. I wanted to write something so good that even if they didn’t usually read my type of writing, they would want to.
Sounds vain, doesn’t it?
I didn’t think it was vain. It was just dreams, goals, and ambitions. I set plans in place to achieve glory.
They never happened.
It took years to write my first book. I set it aside after I sent out 10 query letters and got rejected.
Yes. You read that right. Ten.
Anyone who knows anything about writing knows sometimes it takes hundreds. In my mind, it fell short. It should only take a couple.
I began working on the next book. While writing, I bragged to people it was my “money book.”
Ten years later, the money book is still hanging around on my computer, unpublished, and it will probably never see the light of day. It’s not good enough. I say that without bias. It falls short and needs major changes. I wrote it ten years ago, and I have moved on with my writing.
That’s a more adult way of seeing it. looking at it through the lens of my values. I viewed it from others’ perspectives for years.
It’s OK to be OK
Recently, I have written in the fantasy realm. It’s a realm well suited for my nerdy, history-loving self who has always loved swords, knights, and ancient history.
I never considered it, though, because I wanted to be a serious writer.
There would be no fantasy writer on the planet who considers themselves not serious. Some fantasy writers are just as serious, if not more.
I spoke earlier about fictional perfectionism.
Earlier, I said it doesn’t exist.
What’s your idea of the perfect novel? Think about it for a second. Come up with something?
Suppose you said, “War and Peace.” Want to hear something? I can’t stand the book. Well, maybe it’s “Wuthering Heights.” I don’t like it either.
What do I like? Well, I love “Old Man and the Sea.”
What? You can’t stand Hemingway. He’s a misogynistic piece of shit. How about “Lord of the Rings?”
“Ummm… no,” you may say. Not into made-up beings and made-up worlds. How about something more realistic? Or how about a crime book?
Oh, wait, how about romance?
Getting my point? There’s no perfect book because everyone has different tastes. You could write a literary, fantastical, romantic horror novel set in a science fiction world filled with crime.
Not everyone will like it.
I thought I could reach perfection.
I never will.
What can I achieve? The love of writing words, creating worlds, and enjoying the process,
Want to know a secret?
This blog post you are reading?
It’s not perfect.
Also, in closing. Want