Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Progress Not Perfection

There's a saying in the program, we strive for progress, not perfection. And when I follow it things seem to be more balanced, and I actually get more done and have more success than if I try to nail everything down all at once. And not just in the way I approach my eating but in the way I approach my writing and life in general.

My Higher Power has blessed me with a publishing contract from a great publishing house. I had no idea when I was chatting Lea up at a Digicon workshop that I would end up MuseItUp. I hadn't even planned on going with them initially. But when I received multiple offers for publication I had takn enough workshops and chats to glean Muse really nurtures and takes care of their authors (not that other houses don't) but Muse just felt right.

At some point during the rewrite of Another Way To Die I realized Daniel Logan was a fantastic hero and he wanted more pages than the 189 dedicated to him in my first book. I had a trilogy on my hands. I'm incredibly linear in my work. Some people can multitask when it comes to their project and if I could I would. But that's where my prediliction for getting out of the moment which is essential for my writing--and quite frankly my life throws me out of balance.

When I'm writing progress is what I'm striving for because nothing, no matter how much I wish it could be is perfect. Someone, either myself or someone else is always going to find fault with it. There is judgement in this world. And sometimes we writers judge ourselves and one another the harshest.

I'm not talking about the sharp eye of your content and line editors I'm talking about squashing someone's voice. That's why I don't believe first drafts are meant to be seen by anyone except the writer until they are finished. Crtitique partners are important, but even then you don't hand the first draft to them. Only your first reader needs to see it. Too many cooks spoil the dish. I believe that.

Critique partners shoulder be people who understand you, your voice, and your personality. Some can be treated roughly. Some need it wrapped in a bow. If you understand the goal is progress not perfection you're not just going to be a better writer, you're going to a happier and better person.

I want to take a moment here to thank those who have inspired me to do my best work. Stephen King, Julie Butcher, Chris Baty, Lea Schizas, Elise VanCise, Pamela Turner, Scott Frank, Quentin Tarantino, William Goldman, and of course my best friend, writing partner, and first reader of fourteen years Melissa Goodman. May you all have continued success in this world, no matter what your definition of it is.

1 comment:

Micole Black said...

Your blog on creative progress is good. I truly believe what you said about critique partners and only giving them the draft after it is finished and ready.

Thank you fro reminding me. ;-)

Micole Black