Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfectionism and Writing

I'm a mess sometimes. Literally. Hair unbrushed from the night before, toys strewn about the floor because I'm too lazy to get the kids to clean them up. But beneath the messiness lies a perfectionist who decided a long time ago that if she couldn't have perfection, she would just embrace the chaos.

Wow. I just summed myself up in one paragraph. Yay me!

That perfectionist lives on inside, rearing her immaculate head during manuscript revisions, or when I write poetry, or when I'm about to have company. I owe her a lot, actually. I should thank her for the time she cleaned the whole house (okay, minus my bedroom) in preparation for my wonderful in-laws' visit. I should thank her a hundred times for all the cuts she made me make to my WIP when we were first starting out. She couldn't abide my narrator's voice. It just wasn't right, she kept telling me. I'm glad I listened, because my MC's voice is Goldilocks's dream right now: just right. Not perfect, of course. But it's tangible now.

I'm reminding myself how much I love this little perfectionist inside me because I wanted to wring her neck yesterday. She made me cut over 7,000 words near the end of my manuscript. I'm now faced with the delightful task of rewriting the climax. It just wasn't quite... right.

Maybe you think I should have finished the gulram story and revised later? Well, messy me agrees with you. But when it comes to my writing career, perfectionist me is the one you have to talk to. Sorry. Just the way it is.

It's good, though. A little perfectionism in the chaos could be just what Azalea and Gabriel need to save their worlds from evil.

All I know for certain is when I'm done with this book, I'll feel like I can walk on freaking water.

To help me out, I put together a Happy Writer Toolkit over at Operation Awesome today. Go check that out and tell me: What's in your happy writer toolkit?


  1. So good to see you embracing your inner perfectionist. The reason you embrace chaos is exactly the same reason I embrace chaos.

  2. Are you sure you're not really me? Because reading this post I felt like I was reading about myself. I can totally relate. Most of the time my house is a mess, but if I know I'm having company my perfectionist self takes over (bedroom doesn't count because I can always shut the door). I'm the same as you with my writing too, I'm an absolute perfectionist when it comes to my writing.

  3. I'd say the inner perfectionist is a good thing! As long as she lets you move forward eventually! Otherwise she might be a problem. But it sounds like you get a along just fine!

  4. chaos is great. Perfection is unattainable, but a nice thought. Sometimes the two even match...

  5. Sounds like your inner perfectionist knows what she's doing! I'd keep her :)

  6. It makes me smile to know I'm not alone in my craziness. Thank you for validating my chaotic perfectionism. ;)You guys rock!

  7. Thank GOODness for your perfectionist!


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