Doing the Imperfect Work


I haven’t found my way back into the Flash Nano groove, but I’m saving the prompts to work with when I’m ready. There are a few writers in the group who’ve fallen behind and/or dropped off. Others are going strong, even firing out submissions of new pieces as they create them. I find this fascinating, the rapid pace and the confidence to send work out into the world almost immediately.

I sit on my writing for a long time–maybe too long. Recently, a writer/editor-friend was quick to call out my perfectionism after critiquing one of my pieces. She declared the work ready for publication. I’m always surprised to be associated with perfectionism because I feel so very flawed. Of course, that’s the perfectionist’s trap, always striving, rarely accepting that anything is ready or exactly right or ever good enough.

Perfection stymies. It halts. Writing, and especially daily blogging, is an exercise against that inertia. There are twelve hours in a day, and within them, I must cobble together some sentences. I must try to make sense of things. It’s a small act that propels me forward. I cultivate momentum.

Daily blogging leaves a trail, evidence of all the days the words don’t come easily, ideas fall flat, time runs short, motivation flags. But accepting imperfection means the thing you want to build gets built. Where there was air, now stands a structure. Perhaps just a series of rickety steps. With time and practice you become a better builder, you inch closer to the dream of becoming a master craftswoman.

Lorrie Moore says, “I don’t go back and look at my early work, because the last time I did, many years ago, it left me cringing. If one publishes, then one is creating a public record of learning to write.”

I’m certain I’ve talked about the trap of perfectionism more than once over these last 302 days, but it’s a lesson I have to learn again and again. So, dear reader, if you’re like me, too often caught in the trap, fear not the publish button nor the Submittable page. Keep writing. Keep floating your words out into the world. Offer something up today. I promise I will, too.

(Post 302 of 365)




3 thoughts on “Doing the Imperfect Work”

  1. Thank you. This inspires me, almost like listening to a preacher, or rabbi or some other spiritual leader. I shouldn’t say “almost” because it actually nurtures much more than they do or have in the few cases I’ve given any of them a chance. (God that is an awkward sentence…)

    Liked by 1 person

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