Perfection is Agony

(From previous blog, unedited, final one)

This has been a problem of mine for quite some time now. I’m talking about two things (maybe more) by the way: perfection and procrastination. I like things to fit together like jigsaw puzzles, which is why when I read a book that circles back around from end to beginning and comes together in its themes, characters, story and structure, it looks and feels so satisfying to engage with. This has been the bar I’ve set myself in terms of writing and publishing novels. If I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it perfectly. That’s my mindset I have whenever I think about the big projects in mind and that I’ve been developing in both thought and written expression for years. However, because the idea of writing these books to perfection when I have such a small backlog of both written and reading done is daunting to say the least. And as such results in procrastinating. Though, a simple solution to this would just be to read a lot more and write a lot more until I’m confident enough to follow through on my plans (which is what I intend to do) because of college life and work it’s not something I feel I could sit down and knock out in one sitting. Which would be ideal seeing as how my goal over the next 2-3 years is to: 1) read as many books as movies I have watched and 2) read all of the books in my house.

Easier said than done. At this point, my goal is to try and write something everyday. Even if I think it’s terrible or worthless. What I need is practice, and the only way I can get practice is by writing, so that’s what I aim to do. Every day. Unfortunately, one of the problems I face whenever I sit down to write something is the doubt of being able to finish it, or the idea that if I stop and come back later, I should have more to say by then. What is wrong with this type of thinking is that the best time to finish discussion-based essays (like this one) is in the moment you start it. Why? Because that’s when it’s fresh and comes easier to you. Think of these moments as catching lightning in a bottle, but instead of lightning maybe something a lot easier to catch, but likely to escape if left unsupervised, like a fish in a net, maybe.

Perfection is the bane of my existence. It calls to me whenever I feel like I’m getting somewhere with my story, like a howl of wind reverberating through a forest floor. To be honest, I have no logical basis for that simile. It was just for the sake of poetic eloquence. But perfection is agonizing when I think about going back to my stories and planning out the beginning, middle and end; how each scene transitions from one to the next; how many characters is too many for the first book, and when to introduce the rest, and for how long; how to tie in the themes that I still don’t know from beginning to end and back around; etc. It turns into obsessive and self-destructive thinking and it is frustrating trying to piece together a puzzle that’s not all there, because you’re still making it.

Dialogue seems to help a lot. Usually, if I think of a good scene to write it starts with me acting out the characters conversations in my head and going from there; what they’re talking about; why they’re talking about it; what happens next in the scene that ties-in / interrupts / progresses the scene; etc. Characters are the heart of any story, and I have grown to love the characters I’ve made so far, which is probably the main reason I want to perfect these books. I want to do the characters justice more-so than the story or the readers. They are inhabitants of a world I created and as such, it is my duty to look after them and at the very least, make their lives relatable, if not entertaining.
~ Ace

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