I saw this on Twitter this morning from Anne Lamott:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” — Anne Lamott
So, please excuse the language from Ms. Lamott, but she’s right! I’ve had time to really sit down and write this week since I’m at my son’s house dog sitting. It’s pretty hard to procrastinate when there’s nothing standing between you and the computer screen in front of you on the table! Gotta do it. And I’ve been a busy bee, working away at the research and the story line.
For awhile now, nothing seemed to be coming together. I’ve written six chapters and struggled with the right line, the right word, the best character description. I’ve read and re-read. I’ve crossed out, added, deleted, and saved for a later page/chapter.
There’s another aspect. As an author/reader I tend to analyze the work of other authors. For me, the craft is not pure. It is never perfect. But it seems theirs often are near perfect. I admire the description, the word choice, the perfect line, perfect thought. I highlight them in my Kindle eBooks. I am amazed at how prolific other writers are. How are they able to put together plots, characters, and thoughts in such perfect succession? I’m sure I can never meet those standards.
My thoughts seem to be random. I’ll think of a phrase I’d like to use. Perhaps a change in the character’s appearance, even name! Should the location be different? Perhaps a different setting would help tell the story?
And then, I have the picture in my mind of exactly where it needs to be. What he or she needs to look like, act like. Frightened? Secure? Devious? Assured?
There’s never perfection, but then I tell myself, life isn’t perfect. Maybe other authors harbor these same insecurities. So a good story can have those imperfections, just like people’s lives. Cant’ it?
One thought on “Perfectionism”
You are not alone in feeling this way, Gail. You should visit some of the writers that posted about similar insecurities today. There’s a list at: https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html
I’m glad you were able to get some writing done at your son’s house. Hopefully, the muse will come home with you.