I saw a quote recently that really made me stop and think. It was in a magazine, but I can't remember who said it.
Perfectionists always lose.
Yikes! But so true, because a perfectionist is never satisfied. And if you're never satisfied, you never let go of the work. I know this from experience. I am cursed with the perfectionist gene, though it's selective (for instance, I'm not obsessive about having a perfect house — well, I kind of am, but I know I have to give up and invite people over or I never will because things aren't perfect — hence my party this Friday that I'm trying not to obsess over).
And I've also had to learn to stop trying to perfect the writing, to send the darn thing out and see what happens. I do this remarkably well when deadlines are attached. 🙂 But let me have all the time in the world to “fix” my work, and I'll keep fiddling with it. There's always a better way to say something, always a better idea.
But you have to learn to let go.
Are you a perfectionist? Do you have trouble letting the work out of your sight? What tricks do you use to stop yourself from fiddling? If you aren't a perfectionist, how do you know when the work is ready? What is your benchmark for determining it?
Well… it should have been
Perfectionists do it better
And yes, I was raised by a perfectionist so I have some of those perfectionist tendencies. I am getting better at letting people read my “masterpieces.” LOL
Hi Lynn! I’m a total perfectionist and it drives me crazy. I’m slowly learning that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and I think that’s because I’m willing to accept criticism more now than when I was younger. Like you said, you have to learn to let go. By doing that, sometimes you learn much, much more, and what you thought was perfect, becomes that much better.
Good luck with your party Friday night! Have fun.
I’m in the “Close Enough to Perfect For Me” category. I’m not a perfectionist, but I do get persnickety about things.
Now I’m off to tidy *my* house…the Geek is having more geeks over tomorrow night.
I used to be conceited, but now I’m perfect. 🙂
I’m a perfectionist in the worst sense and I don’t have benchmarks or mechanisms in place yet in regards to my writing so… in the past year I’ve written two complete manuscripts AND thrown them on the scrap heap after the first read through lol because I just knew that I would be editing them until doomsday.
Strangely enough I’m great with deadlines I don’t have any problems letting go for competitions but anything that doesn’t have a date (even when I set one) is fair game for obsessive compulsiveness 🙂
I’d love to hear about anyone else’s techniques for ‘letting go’ even if it’s a case of your partner chaining you to a chair while they go and mail the thing for you 🙂
Hope your writing is going well
Hey, y’all! Sorry to get back here late. Been frantically cleaning the house. 🙂
Cyn, it’s hard to let people read your work, but it’s a necessary step to growing as a writer. 🙂 It’s difficult to hear your prose isn’t perfect, your characters undeveloped, or your plot full of holes — but it’s necessary for growth. 🙂
Robin, thanks! PC and I are throwing the party together, so she’ll be here with me to make sure things go well. 🙂 And yep, it’s hard to let go, but at some point you must. Otherwise, it’s just you reading it and that’ll never move you forward. Hugs, because I SO understand!!!
PC: You persnickety? No way! 😉
Nikki: Hmm, that’s more difficult. I *have* thrown manuscripts into the trash heap (actually, I just leave them on the computer and stop messing with them) without ever showing them to anyone. I think I did that with 2 as well. Sometimes, you just know. But it’s not a wasted experience, and it doesn’t mean the idea isn’t salvageable later.
As for techniques for letting go? Truthfully, it was contest entries that did it for me. They have deadlines, and they only require a few pages. Electronic contests are even better because it’s easier to hit the send button than to print, clip, address an envelope, take it to the post office, stand in line, etc.
Thanks for your reply 🙂
I was wondering if you’ve found it easier or harder now that you have an editor to speak with?
I know it’s done when I start obsessively writing their death scenes. Literally. Really. Then it’s time to send it out before I start doing damage to it.
Unique and effective! Loved it!
Nikki: Well, I suppose it’s a tad bit easier. Meaning I have a deadline and someone waiting for it. It’s still difficult in that I want to send her a perfect story. I know she’ll have suggestions and changes, but I still have that perfection gene that wants me to send the best work possible — and get an A+ on it. I’m still working on convincing myself that I’m not writing for a grade. But that’s because I’m new to working with an editor. 🙂 I keep flashing back to my thesis committee… *grin*