who is this guy?

Perfection vs good enough?

It is said that the enemy of good is perfection. As writers, our drive for perfection can stop us from getting to “good enough”.

There will always be something wrong with your work. However, there comes a time when you need to let it go – to print or to the publisher. When your writing has reached a point of being good enough that it will be well received, how do you know?

The answer is that you do not know if it is good enough. If it sells well, if your editor loves it, if your beta readers are begging to see the whole thing – these are all clues.

Writers write, authors publish

It is said that a writer is someone who writes. An author, on the other hand, is a writer who published. In other words, you are an author not when you start writing but when you finish writing something.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

Confucius, attrib

The trap is that sometimes we never finish because we keep trying to reach an unattainable perfection. No art is perfect but that does not stop us.

Is perfection driven by imposter syndrome?

who is this guy?
Do you ever feel like this?

As writers, we often suffer from crippling imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is something that can seriously hold back your writing. It is the feeling that you are faking it and everyone knows.

That drive to be utterly perfect probably shares the same roots. The feeling that we are just kidding ourselves about being an author. That nagging doubt that says, “if only I could make it truely good”.

Just get started, even imperfectly

One of the things I wrestle with is the balance between driving towards perfection and realising that “good enough” is a far better start than no start at all.

It is highly unlikely – maybe even impossible – that anyone will create a “perfect” first draft. This is because there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to art.

Getting a first draft written – even if it is terrible – is a huge achievement in itself. I try to remind myself of this because I suffer from a strong temptation to try and be impossibly perfect.

Which would bring more joy to your readers – an imperfect yet finished manuscript or one that you work on until your dying day? At some point you just have to “ship it”.

Over to you

Do you let perfection stand in the way of getting started? I know I do sometimes. Tell us about it in the comments below.

We originally published “Perfection or good enough” on our old blog. This post is an expansion of that one.

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