You know the saying, no one is perfect, right? Yet, so many are trying to be perfect, and failing miserably at it. Including writers.
I don’t think I’ve known very many writers who didn’t give a darn about the quality of their written work. In fact, many of us get so hung up in believing that our writing needs to be perfect before we can send it out into the world. The problem is, this way of thinking is probably the number one reason why nothing gets completed (and in many instances, even started).
Heck, perfectionism is one of the root causes of the so-called “writer’s block.”
What a writer to do?
Here are some reasons why we should accept those flaws as writers.
!. It lowers the stress level. I think Stephen King was on to something when he said:
“As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect.”
No matter if you’re an unpublished writer or a prolific, best-selling author, the writing craft is a life-long apprenticeship where there are no masters. Instead of agonizing over your struggles in grasping certain grammatical rules, realize that we all have issues with them. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. You will never get the story “perfectly” written in the first draft. The sooner we accept that, the easier the words will flow.
2. Your flaws are what sets you apart from the others.
“Flaws are what makes people most interesting.” -Minh Tan
Some of the most interesting people in the world have been writers and the first one to come to mind is Ernest Hemingway. Aside from his flamboyant and active lifestyle, he was noted for his writing style. He lived in a time where literary (aka elaborate) writing dominated; but his style ran counter to this. He preferred to write lean descriptions while relying more on dialogue and action to tell the story. Many, at first, viewed this to be a flawed writing style; instead, he gained notoriety and eventually won many awards (including the Nobel). His writing style wasn’t the only reason for his success; it was also the kind of stories, their characters and content, that set him apart from the other writers of the time. Much of this was due to his wartime experiences as well as his battles with mental illness and alcoholism. All of these were responsible for fundamentally shaping his style of writing.
He was an imperfect man who wrote unforgettable stories. So, embrace your flaws and make them your strengths rather than view them as weaknesses. It is our flaws that will set our writing apart from the others, and it is also our flaws which readers can connect and identify with.
3. Your flaws are part of what makes you, well, you!
I love Ann Lamott. She just has a way with words, and putting things into perspective.
Our flaws can make our creative life messy, but they contain some of the juiciest morsels for our stories. And stories are the reflection of who we are as writers. So, stop trying to be perfect and accept your flaws as mere extensions of who you are as a person, and as a writer.
One last quote from Ann Lamott to ponder on:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California).”