Wednesday, 3 April 2013


The quest for perfection is an oddity. Towards the start of last month, I wanted to start writing something amazing. Something brilliant. Something that will change the life of whoever reads it. So naturally, I wrote something, and deleted it as not good enough, and wrote something, and deleted it, and so on.

Instead now, I'm just accepting the likelihood that my first draft isn't going to be wonderful, and now words are flowing. I'm not even entirely sure what happens next half the time, but that isn't the point. The point is that, by allowing myself the luxury of possibly writing poorly (something I can't always afford in the day job. I'd never meet the ghost-writing deadlines) I'm getting stuff written. Stuff that I can then make better as needed.

And yet... well, there's always the other side of this, isn't there? The writers who churn out the same old stuff again and again. The ones who don't have anything interesting to say, or just produce another teen vampire romance exactly like everyone else's teen vampire romance (is anyone still doing this?) There is a point where it's important to say to yourself that you can do better than that, so where does the balance lie?

For myself, I just want to do the best with an idea I can. Preferably by trusting myself to keep going until the end. There's enough red ink waiting after that.


Donna K. Weaver said...

And yet, if our intent is to write more than one book we need to recognize that our writing will grow and mature the more of it we do. It would be unrealistic for me to expect my first work to be my best. Right now I just want to tell a fun story and work to mature my writing. Good luck!

Pauline Wiles said...

Regardless of the type of writing I'm doing, I usually surprise myself when I return to my first draft that it's not as bad as I imagined.
And since writing is an art, not a science, it's really hard to know when it's good enough, or when you've done your best.
I often recall the mantra "Perfect is the opposite of done".
Also, Donna makes a great point, that we probably shouldn't expect our best work early in our careers...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Do the best you can on the first draft. It won't be perfect. It's in the revisions that we make it even better.