Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Learned it's OK to Be Less Than Perfect

I joined the Blog in January with one goal: to get something published. I didn’t have my sights set on anything as significant as seeing my very own novel in print or building a fan base (although there’s nothing wrong with that)—no, what I really wanted was to overcome my previously unacknowledged fear of having someone else see my writing before it was ‘ready.’ 

Sound familiar? Maybe you have faced the same challenge with your writing.

I needed a deadline that I could not brush aside. I needed a regular writing goal that could not be ignored or forgotten. I needed peer (and public) pressure to hit the “publish” button even on the occasions when I felt the writing was not as good as it could be. I needed a situation where no excuses would apply. And, this was it.

You see...I’m a closet perfectionist. (I've just outed myself--this is liberating!) Perfectionism and writing deadlines do not make a nice couple. Nope, they get along as well as a pair of lions with only one carcass. Come he... (ahem) or high water, when the clock struck twelve Wednesday morning, there had to be something on the Blog with my name on it.

There were a few times when I was completely disgusted with what I’d written and the desire to start over on something new was so intense it made me sweat. However, since it was late Tuesday night (I'm also a procrastinator I guess), I didn’t have enough time to start on a new topic. The only option was to fix the one I was working on. I have a pattern of 'starting over' with my WIPs so no contest...that was by far the most important thing I learned from this blog. There was never one single time I didn't have my post up. Quoting no famous red-neck in particular, sometimes you just have to “Get’er done!”

Although that was the most important learning, it certainly wasn’t the only learning. Here are a couple of my favourite posts. (Ok, so I know I’m leaving out a lot of very good posts but if I include them all you won’t have the time to check them all out!)

·          How do you say it? 
·          World Building 101 

Thank you readers and fellow bloggers for giving me the chance to be a part of Prairie Chicks. As long as the blog is live (there is no close date) I know I will continue to refer back to postings and comments to help me with my writing. I have one more posting, so stay tuned.


Obe said...

Getting it done is by far the hardest thing a writer can do. Remember anyone can say they want to write a blog or a book, but few actually do it. I agree, many writers find that in the middle of something they suddenly have new ideas that claim their minds and time. But its knowing this "writers ADD" that allows us to over come. Sometimes you find it at the last 20k of a novel. It means your ready to move on. Hang in there. You are not alone.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anne,
Learning to "Get 'er done" is a very important lesson. When you're accountable to no one with no particular deadline, it's easy to put off your writing, or to start over, or to start a new story while another remains half done (all of which I've done many times). Knowing that other members of the group and readers are counting on us to have a post on the blog on time is a big incentive to "get 'er done".

One of the biggest lessons I've learned over the years (it took me a while) is that my first draft doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to get done. The perfecting comes in the revision stage. To paraphrase Nora Roberts "I can revise a lousy first draft; I can't revise a blank page."

Best of luck,

Helena said...

Well said, Anne! I had some of the same motivation (and fear of going public) in my decision to accept the Chick challenge last year.

I also discovered, from having a regular slot in the schedule and from taking courses with assignments (sheesh!), that I need structure and deadlines. I try to give myself the structure I need, but I have a huge dose of procrastination in my nature, so the external pressures are very good for me.

Thank you for the list of posts to re-read (which I did). You have given us a solid confirmation that Prairie Chicks will remain an valuable resource on writing. (This reminds me that one of the technical things that I DID NOT master was creating links to previous posts. Never seemed to work for me and I was always rushed and forgot to ask anyone, so now I'm going to go look at the codes you used. I will need to know how to do it, if and when ...)

Thanks, too, for your contributions to the Chicks. Glad to know that it has caused you to grow in your writing experience, in addition to providing useful ideas in the pursuit of writing excellence.

Karyn Good said...

Learning to write past all those self-imposed road blocks is a lesson I'm working hard at learning, too. Blogging here on The Chicks and doing NaNoWriMo last year have helped with that, too. Both included goals and deadlines and they pushed me to get things done and move past the ideal of perfection.

It's been a pleasure sharing Wednesdays with you :)