Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Perfection Anyone?

“Writers can be quirky, moody and difficult...” I’ve actually heard people say this, followed by “...of course not you.” I always feel like saying, “Especially me!”

We are naturally all of those things and more. Our profession requires us to spend hours alone and still function in a daily world. We have families, jobs, housework and bills to pay. We still have the tedious tasks of showers and feeding ourselves too, but there is a constant virtual marathon of words running through our mind; pleading escape and dictating creation.

Does the moodiness stem from sleep deprivation? Maybe. There are many nights a writer would much rather trade the rest we deserve for quite time alone with our thoughts. However, I think it might be more accurate to say that being a writer is an intense concentration of passion. We put immense pressure on ourselves to get “it” right; the “it” of our stories, articles, notes, emails, blogs and posts.

Once you’ve publicly acknowledged you are a writer you feel this overwhelming watchful eye on your every literary mistake, punctuation and spelling error. There are mounds of people waiting to point out and criticize, so the edginess that comes in defense spews from your pours as a shield against whatever slander comes. It becomes distracting, and irritating that your main focus is on who will see, and what will be said, so much that the creative process slows.

There are also the handful of cheerleaders who do encourage your ingenuity and you want to give them something to be proud of. Oh I can hear the groans now, “who cares, just write already,” but only another author knows how hugely inaccurate that statement is. I care! We all care! We pour our lives into what we write. It is not as simple as purely putting words on paper. There is an art to the layout, structure and flow. Some of us have something to share, a moral to convey that must be handle with the utmost of care.

Writing is something we do for ourselves but not in a narcissistic endeavor. We compose literature and prose because we can’t help it; it is simply a part of who we are. Like a flower without sun will wither and die, so will our ability to be anything more than our daily murmur, without written word.

So my advice to writers, authors, poets and artists alike, create and let the mockery that lays in wait be what it will. I would much rather have your handiwork strewn with critique than the dimness its absence would fashion.

None of us are without flaw; in the words of David M. Burns, “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.”

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