Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Great post over on: Jane Friedman's "There are No Rules" blog.

I often joke that I'm a recovering perfectionist currently in a treatment program.

While writing the first draft of my first manuscript, I had a daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute mantra. "It's okay if my writing sucks, just get it on paper. Just get it on paper."  I think "just getting it on paper" is crucial for the first draft of any manuscript.

There's a time and place for perfectionism, and that's during the revision process. I've gained a new respect for the process of refining, improving, and polishing the manuscript. Little details and big plot arcs need to be looked at and cleaned up for the manuscript to be great.

However, there has to come a point (this is where I am now) that the writer has to realize everyone who reads the manuscript is going to have a differing opinion and revision suggestions. The writer (ME!) has to decide when the manuscript is "finished" and start the query process.

I know several writers who have never submitted their work to an agent because they don't want it rejected or because they think there is still room for improvement. That's where perfectionism becomes a hinderance.

Pick a different "P" word. Switch to persistence and leave perfectionism in the closet.

photo credit: paradiseclosets.com

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said. I too am a perfectionist, I actually coined the phrase "Obsessive Compulsive Order" because things in my life must be sorted by color, size, and alphabetical order. It can be daunting. Luckily I know my weakness in writing is my grammar, so I have enlisted help on that front.