Imperfection

Like a lot of artists, I’m a perfectionist at heart. I can look at any work, by any person, and pull it completely to pieces. I tend not to, though – unless it’s my own work.

That’s one reason why it took me a while to turn to creative writing. I knew that nothing I wrote could ever meet my own expectations of literary goodness.

I painted, though. And I drew. I wasn’t good to begin with, but I got better over time. There’s still significant room for improvement but over the years I’ve been able to accept artworks as ‘done’ when they’re not perfect – but they wereΒ good enough.

With painting, as soon as I sign a work it is considered ‘done’ and I’m not allowed to tweak it. It may not be a masterpiece, but it’s told the story I wanted to tell. With my writing, as soon as it is published, that’s me signing it and saying, “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do right now, and the story is told.”

Besides perfection being impossible, I believe it’s our imperfections that bring something unique to the table. Tight writing is great, perfect drawing is admirable, but to make something interesting we have to do something interesting; we have to explore the unknown and tell our own, imperfect story in our own, imperfect way.

And that’s all I have to say for today. Lofty goals are fantastic to aspire to, but we’re only human (unless you’re not, in which case perfection may be attainable) and all we can do is our imperfect best.

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7 responses to “Imperfection

  1. This is exactly why I don’t seem to be able to finish editing my first book. It’s just never done, and I keep going back to the beginning to make it better rather than finishing to the end.

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    • I hope you do finish, Rhonda. I managed to get to the end of my first draft primarily because I allowed myself to have bad writing. Editing took ages, obviously, but at least I had a complete manuscript to edit, right?

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  2. Since settling back into writing everyday the past two years again, I’ve noticed I tend to stall right when the ending is in sight. I think it’s for the same reason – the want for it (especially the end) to be perfect. I’ve learned to keep writing anyway, though it does still take a day or two from me for whichever particular book that is. (Though those two days I’ll work on another book, so it’s not too bad I suppose).

    Hope you have a good week πŸ™‚

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  3. I’m sort of a technical writer. Way too analytical to hold anyone’s focus. As a programmer, getting the story out is a different sort of inspiration. A good technical writer is devoid of any hint of fantasy, more akin to Bible scholar fanaticism. My most inspiring experience was working with deaf writer through an interpreter. Customers reported that our work was great and a long time coming. I think there’s a certain benefit to disability sometimes.

    I am stuck with my writing being pretty unimportant and fear of a story, but a need to tell. I have so much research but I can’t start. Writing can become isolating yourself with a critic.

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    • Hi Betty! There are plenty of people who like the technical sort of writing – where every tiny detail is worked, perhaps overworked, and is important.

      Getting started was the biggest hurdle for me. Once I started, it almost felt like a waste not to keep going (even if I knew the writing was bad). Obviously, I got there in the end. I hope you can, too πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment, Betty, and all the best with your creative endeavours.

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