Being a Writer and a Perfectionist

One of the most difficult things for me as a writer is my perfectionist side. It’s one of the reasons I edit and edit and edit, hoping to make it perfect. You would not believe how many times I’ll edit and rewrite a book until I deem it even remotely worthy of publishing. Even as I hit the publish button in the back of my mind, I’m screaming: “It’s not perfect! There’s bound to be mistakes in there! Don’t do it! Edit it one more time.”

Another thing I’ve struggled with about being a writer and a perfectionist is when I receive a review and if there’s something in there a single reader doesn’t like, I want to go back and rewrite the entire book to correct the non-perfectness of it. The feeling eventually passes. The reason I don’t go back and rewrite is because the rational part of my brain knows that not everyone will enjoy my writing or like my books. That part of me is okay with it. The perfectionist part makes excellent arguments though. Arguments I have to shove aside if I’m ever going to make progress in writing all the books my brain dreams up.

If there is just one thing I am proud of that my writing has done for me is it’s made me a little bit less of a perfectionist. It’s made me more willing to accept mistakes from myself and in others. Of course, there are so many other things writing has done for me, but I will always be thankful it has softened the edges around my perfectionism.

In addition, my wonderful and amazing husband has helped me deal with flaws as well. Making a mistake, or several, is not the end of the world. It is a valuable lesson.

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2 thoughts on “Being a Writer and a Perfectionist

  1. An interesting and heartfelt post. I think you’ve probably echoed what many writers feel, both about being a perfectionist and receiving reviews. There will always be things about our books – and our writing style – that some readers don’t like. We just have to accept it and move on. We can only do our best to make sure there are no glaring mistakes by editing as thoroughly as possible. I can understand how you feel about hitting that ‘publish’ button. Yet you’ve written a lot of books now and are probably a lot more confident in that respect than I am. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • The book of yours I read was beautifully written! You’re a great writer, Millie.

      But yes, there is always that fear you’ve made some horrible mistake and somehow missed it. My confidence does grow with the more I write and the more feedback I get. I just have to remember that not everyone will like everything I write. They might like one series and not the other.

      Like you said, “We just have to accept it and move on.” Writers have to have a tough skin to survive!

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