Why Perfectionists Shouldn’t Write Books


I swear it is going to take me a million years to write one novel. I am so frustrated.

Why, why, why can’t I stand for a rough draft to be as imperfect as it is supposed to be?!

This is ridiculous. I write a scene and I love it, but then I re-read it (yes I know that’s a no-no when you’re writing a rough draft, but sometimes I can’t remember if I put something in right or not… or I’m just being anal… as usual…) and change things until I’ve spent all day perfecting a two-page segment instead of writing more… well… pages. I’m hopeless. I really am. I will be an author wanna-be forever at this rate.

What I need is a program that locks what you’ve written previously but saves it, so you can’t re-read it but it’s still there. Proofreading and editing and changing and rearranging can be done later, Allison Day. You need to focus on the here and now, which is getting this gosh-darned thing written. Not perfect.

I’m doing it again…. I’m re-reading this blog post before I’ve written the whole thing. Ugh. I need to just quit while I’m ahead. Please somebody save me from this madness. Between this and my crazily energetic 9 month old son I’m about to literally lose my mind. Seriously, where did I put it last??

Thanks for following this insanity… Someday it will pay off, I hope…

~A.D.

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7 thoughts on “Why Perfectionists Shouldn’t Write Books

  1. You have a nine-month-old son. First of all, the fact that you can put one word in front of another is a blinking miracle. Second, this child is your teacher. He is about to walk and talk, as I’m sure he already eats and plays, without a single thought in his head about being perfect. But I’ll bet you think he’s pretty near perfect without having to work at perfection. Easy for me to say “let it be” “it is what it is” “it’s good enough for the first draft”–you won’t listen to me. But look at him. Take him in. Some little part of you is still an artless child, just doing what feels good. The more you can tap into that part of yourself, the more you will put aside the perfectionism.

    For now. Because you will need it again when you get to the revision stage.

    By the way, I’m a new blogger doing Blogging 101. My new blog is called–for the moment, anyway–Your Writing Mentor. Have a look in and let me know what you think.

    • Omg… Your blog sounds like EXACTLY what I need! Amazing that you taught creative writing for 30 years and now want to share your knowledge. I will DEFINITELY be following as soon as I get on my laptop! (Don’t know how to follow on the mobile app)

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! Mirrored my thoughts exactly, its a daily struggle 😦 I can’t wait to one day read your novel.

  3. When I’m trying to write something I have to remind myself that the first draft is simply the writer telling herself the story, this reminds me that things don’t have to be perfect just yet and its ok for things to be a little messy

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