I'm enjoying my reading of Bird By Bird for who knows how many times. This piece on Perfectionism brought back memories of when I first began writing. My first short story of 2500 words took me three months to write. Why - because I strove for the piece to be perfect. To quote from Bird By Bird - "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people."
She is so right.
Writing that short story took a long time, but my first novel took several years - nearly three. Not that I was striving for perfection, I was learning. Thanks to so many editors who viewed the book and sent me reasons why my book wasn't suitable for them, I learned. I also learned that nothing is perfect.
Recently I've been reworking a number of stories written three or four years ago to have them re-published. I've learned several things. Most of these books received great reviews. 4 or5 on a scale of one to 5. But I discovered there were things that needed to be made better. Notice I said Better not perfect. I'm sure if I look at them in four or five years I'll be able to make them better. I'm not going to do that though.
For me Perfectionism is one way of procrastinating. How about you? Do you look at your work and write the end, then send it off and have qualms? Is it perfect? Probably not. It's as perfect as you can make it at your stage of writing. If you're like me, the more you write, the more you learn. So the moral of this piece is - There is no Perfection so don't hang yourself up on trying to find it. Save that for the next book or story.