Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.
When I read this quote I was reminded of a kid who erases a certain spot so many times they eventually end up rubbing a hole in their work. Their once white paper is now grey and dirty looking, flawed beyond repair.
Sometime we writers want or expect our stories to be perfect. We go over our sentences and paragraphs with a fine tooth comb sometimes changing a word here or there. We read it so many times the words become stale and we no longer see it as that gem we once started with. So we revise again.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “rewriting trap”.
Recently, I mentioned to a writer friend that I was working on revisions (again) and she jokingly warned, “Don’t get caught in the forever rewriting trap with our manuscript.”
I can honestly see how a writer could get caught in this trap. Like the kid who keeps erasing his/her paper, we search for the right wording, the just so sentences and paragraphs– the perfect story. Sometimes the scariest thing is calling it good and sending our work on its way.
I’m not perfect. I’m sure nothing I write would ever be classified as perfect, if such a thing even exists. And if it did exist I’m not so sure I’d want to be a part of it. Sounds a bit boring to me.
It is our imperfections that make us human. It keeps us real. The moment we consciously try and try and try to make our work perfect the further we get away from who we are.
So, while I’m planning to take time with these latest revisions, I also have a goal in mind as to how long I will keep reworking it. The story is already written. I have little more to change. A bit of polishing, a few shakes to get out the wrinkles and I will send it off when the time is right.
Now I’m a bit curious and must ask— Do you believe in perfection? Do you go over your work many times searching for perfection until you’ve rubbed a hole in your paper? Are you ever satisfied with the end results?