Perfection doesn’t exist, but you can strive towards a state as near to that as possible. It’s the striving for perfection that keeps us going, keeps us persisting to be a little better, a little smarter and a little braver than we were last time. Tomorrow is a new day so when you face a stumbling block you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try, try and try again.
I came across a video today by Ethan Heathcote, I’ve followed him and his boyfriend’s videos on YouTube for a little while now, enjoying the fun, positive and life affirming vlogs they post, because who doesn’t need a little more positivity in their life? But the thing that caught my eye on this video was the title ‘I’m not perfect’. For a sweet six minutes the fluffy exterior is shred as it taps into something that applies to writers as much as it does vloggers, that perfection is not given to us on a plate. In much the same way that Ethan and Mark don’t just switch on the video camera, roll out a vlog in the first take without out-takes, bloopers, reams of unused footage and dare I say it (and I hope they’ll forgive me for saying so) hours of unused and unusable footage that just doesn’t cut the mustard so it is with writing. The great, the mediocre and the still improving author all have one thing in common, that they must spend hours of practise to learn, grow and develop before a nugget of something worthwhile can be produced.
There’s a wealth of great authors that lay out a long path before us who have written some truly amazing and occasionally life changing words. Words that tumble readers into the alternative world enveloping us in a created universe that captures the imagination and the heart. It can be pretty damn intimidating to know so many good writers and novels are out there because when you then look at your own words on the page you can end up feeling somewhat lacking. But, the truth of the matter is that they, like all of us started somewhere. Perhaps they had more natural talent than we do to start off with, but the perfection (or as close to it as we mere mortals can hope for) that they produced is hard-won, long worked for and learnt through practise, persistence and by growing and learning from what works or fails. Well all the above and editing. I can’t stress that last one enough.
I’ll leave you with this thought that Ethan poses on his video:
‘Perfection doesn’t exist, but persistence will get you pretty close’
Don’t be so hard on yourself, pick your self up, laugh and learn from what doesn’t work and try again. It’s the only way that we can be better writers today than we were yesterday. Strive for perfection and be happy when you get pretty close to it. Oh and edit, edit every chapter, paragraph, sentence and word to within an inch of its life.
Writing is a joy, it’s not a task or a chore. It should be an experience that you gain pleasure from. So write what you love and love what you write, because if you don’t love it how are you going to make anyone else love it?
Happy writing peeps