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Saturday, March 30, 2013

You're A Writer? Quit Trying To Be Perfect

As someone who really strives for that perfect story or blog, I know I am too picky and try to be too perfect. Many times I won't write unless I know exactly where I want to start and finish. In spite of that,  even when I think I know where I will start and finish and what my content is likely to be, it doesn't work out that way. Some of my best work is the content that came out of nowhere and I just followed it on that path.
What I have come to know is that a better way to go about it is to just write whatever comes to you on that story idea. Sure, 90% of it will be total crap. And you can delete that later. Easily. Because it is crap and you know it. 
But if you truly believe you are a gifted, talented and competent writer then that other 10% (the 10% you aren't writing now while you wait for your muse to speak to you in that special way it can) will never come because you aren't writing anyway.
Much like they say you can't win the game if you don't play the game (you have to be in it to win it), you wont write that great stuff unless you write something. Anything. Even when you feel like you have nothing.
Trying to be perfect is a fools game. Striving to be perfect is a worthy endeavor. That endeavor begins on a journey where you just walk out the door and head in a direction. Whatever direction your pen or keyboard takes you. Then, when you have completed that particular journey, you can decide what part of it you wish to keep and build on. When you have done that, you have 10% more than you would have if you just stayed home and never walked out that door on that journey.
And once you have enough 10%'s to work from, then you likely will have formed the quality story you are looking for and you are less likely to run into days where you refuse to write because you don't feel you are on the right track.
The right track will find itself if you are competent enough. I remember Ray Bradbury said he wrote thousands of very short stories that appeared to go nowhere, but then he would put them together at some point and make one great longer story out of all of them. That is what it takes sometimes to form the complete story. But you have to be willing to discard that 90% to get all the 10%'s that add up to the end product you are looking for. That is really tough to do and accept, knowing that you are going to write all day and then immediately discard 90% of it. But, it is part of the process. Especially when nothing is coming to you. We can't all be inspired all the time. Writing doesn't work like that. Life doesn't work like that.
I think I have learned that.

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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact