Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You Kill Zone for Reading My Mind

I was going to write a post today about how my internal editor is KILLING ME. Every time I sit down to start writing, I try to refresh myself by reading what I'd written in my previous writing session. 

Then it starts.

Oh, that doesn't flow very well. Let's just fix that. Hmm, that doesn't really make sense right there, I'll just move it back a few pages. Oh, wait, where was I again? Oh, crap. I already said that a few sentences back, better cut that...

And on and on it goes, until I've wasted that very small chunk of time (when my kids are sleeping or not trying to kill each other) that I had planned to use writing.

Enter Kill Zone, where author Joe Moore has given us a post entitled "It's Perfect. Now Make It Perfecter." on the ill-effects of perfectionism. I mean, his post title alone sent me into full body convulsions. MUST FIX "PERFECTER". GAHHH!

Joe says, "First, you must convince yourself that NOTHING is perfect, especially when it comes to writing fiction. Now I’m not talking about spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax. Those are the rules of writing just like the speed limit and stop lights are the rules of the road. But those rules have NOTHING to do with perfection, only correctness. Perfection is a mental concept. It can never be achieved. There will always be room for improvement.
Next, you must allow yourself to write less-than-perfect prose the first time with the understanding that it's more important to tell the story."

I should have this quote tattooed on my body somewhere, because it would be helpful to be reminded of this advice EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

What about you? Are you beaten down by your perfectionism?

Thanks, Joe. I needed this today :)


  1. Oh my goodness, YES! I am a compulsive rewriter. Nothing ever sounds quite right. I haven't learned how to write a no-edit first draft, but I do try not to be too picky. It doesn't always work. :)

  2. I'm a big fan of MBTI personality type theory. It's not voodoo or anything like that; rather it is a scientifically-designed tool used for understanding ourselves and others and how we all relate to the world.

    ["Where is he going with this?"]

    Well, one of these types (INFP) tends to REALLY gravitate towards writing. I'm not saying that all INFP people are writers, or vice versa... just that there is a fair amount of correlation there.

    Some famous INFP writers: Shakespeare, William Butler Yeats, Emily Bronte, Hans Christian Anderson, Homer, Virgil, Amy Tan, J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley

    ["Still not seeing it..."]

    INFP's are also perfectionists.


    I'm willing to bet that many writers struggle with perfectionist tendencies and have to overcome it, more so than "it just doesn't happen." I know I do! :)

  3. Oh, yes, but Moore is right about nothing ever being perfect. I learned that after I got my first manuscript back from the editor!

    Hope you're enjoying Florida!

  4. Ummm, no, I'm not. Which is MY fault. I'm seldom satisfied with my end project after reading it about 2 weeks later.

  5. Oh my gosh, I'm horrible. I always think what I write is rotten. Great advice, I'm going to print that and stick it on my board.

    p.s. love the new layout!

  6. LOL I was over there too today and totally agree! I edit WAY too much as I go!

  7. Thankfully I let go of that long ago. In fact, I'm not sure I ever really had a firm grasp on that at all.

    Free. So free.
    ~ Wendy

  8. YES! I try to at least get a page out before I go back and rewrite it.

  9. New blog look? I'm lovin' it! And yeah, it's hard to not keep micro-analyzing the work we've already done. You are not alone!

  10. Thanks all, for the empathy. Karen and Wendy, I ENVY YOU! :P And Diane and Jill, it IS a new layout, thanks for noticing! :)