Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is it "perfect" yet?

No. Nothing is ever perfect. Give yourself a break and settle for clean, clear, unconfusing prose written without trying to be either "artful" or "perfect." Don't agonize over every word and let those "artful" passages appear on their own. Trust that they will.

I wanted to address your concerns about "perfectionism" because I used to agonize over every word, every paragraph, until I made myself feel helpless and impossibly inept. Then I went to work for a newspaper where they didn't want it "good," they wanted it accurate and "yesterday." I learned to do it their way -- otherwise I'd have been employed for about a week. But I learned something valuable in that experience, which I'm going to pass on to you, now. Writing is a process of development. It doesn't spring "full blown" from the brow of the writer and those who assume that every word they put down is perfect because "it came to me that way" are in for a rude surprise.

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