I hear this saying a lot in various writing podcasts, “Perfect is the enemy of done”. I’m learning more and more what that fully means. For instance, I keep trying to “get it right the first time” while I’m writing. My perfectionism is fighting my creativity. A few story ideas I just jotted down what I had in my head to keep from thinking about. Those I sent to friends and family and most were well received, continually asking if there was more, when I talked about my writing.
At first, I thought this was just the friends and family writers support group. But as I was going back over those snippets to add things to, or get bits from to organize wikis or start outlines, I realized they weren’t just being supportive, I was wanting to know what happened next, and I wrote them!
So I started looking at this, because I had been having a hard time writing. What was it that made this so easy to write? I thought to myself, then it hit me, it was just imagination. I didn’t have any restrictions on what I could and couldn’t write, it was just my imagination having playtime and that was why it flowed so easily.
So I started thinking about how this should change my writing process so I could be more productive. Will outlines hamper my creative mind right now to the point that I can’t write at all? There are books I want to write that will be in sprawling story lines, how will this effect writing those? So I set out doing experiments.
When I first heard about it, I wondered how people could write bit and pieces of the story and them mix and match them later. But now I’m seeing exactly how they could do that, because that’s what I am doing. It seems to be working, though the perfectionist part of my brain is about to have an aneurysm. It just knows that must be the wrong way to do it, even though it seems to be working a bit.
What I have found myself doing, is wanting to write snippets of every story I want to write…that’s about 15-20. Now, my anti-ADD program in my mind has a fit about this. “You can’t jump around in spurts like that! You have to focus, focus, focus!” I trained it well. But now it looks like I need to alter the coding a bit. While there are many instances where ignoring the ADD wants and making my mind focus is exactly what’s needed, I may have to allow my mind to jump around a bit in order to get my creative mind flowing.
Who knows, after I get used to writing consistently, and I can get my imagination to flow at will, I might be able to alter the program again to focus on one book at a time. I might also be that this is what my writing process needs to be. One thing’s for sure, if I ever get multiple series that readers are waiting for, his jumping around will show progress for them, and keep them engaged.
So…don’t worry about getting it right the first time. Don’t worry about it looking, sounding, or being perfect, ever. It never will be, not for us writers. But there comes a time when you have to look at all you’ve put into it, and hope that when you send it out to the world, it will do good things.