Monday, September 8, 2014

Good Enough Isn't

I saw a graphic on Twitter that had a picture of a woman exercising and said "Strive for progress, not perfection." And I thought that was good advice for pretty much everything (especially since I am, once again, trying to lose weight), including writing. If you strive for perfection in your writing, you will have the mother of all writer's block episodes.

However, I'd like to add a caveat. When I worked in the corporate world (shudder) I worked in quality. And we had a saying; "Good enough isn't." You don't do a thing "good enough" because that isn't good enough. You do things as perfectly as you possibly can.

Now, no human system or built/designed thing is ever going to be perfect. But you should make what you produce (including your writing) as perfect as you can.

Now you might think I'm contradicting myself saying "Strive for progress, not perfection" and "Make things as perfect as you can." But stick with me.

I also say "Just keep writing" and have said it so much a friend made a graphic of it for me.
Britta Kaye
(A friend I used to babysit when she was an infant. She liked my beard and when I had to shave it off for a job, she would no long let me hold her.)

And I've said, "Your first draft will suck, get over it and write the damn thing."

But, it is all part of a process. You write your first draft, not trying to make it perfect, but you just keep writing. Then you edit. I edit a lot (but I make a lot of typos/spelling errors even with computers). Now you are striving not for perfection, but progress. Make it better and better and better than it was. Now is when you worry about perfection, now is when you improve it until it is as perfect as you can make it. You should never, ever say, "that's good enough."

And believe me, there's few feelings worse than opening a novel you wrote that is now published and finding something you know you could have written better.

Then when you write your next book, you try to make it better than the last book. 

It's a process of striving for progress, while trying to make it as perfect as possible. And you can only do that if you just keep writing.

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