Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The myth of perfect writing.

Working from home has a lot of benefits. I really appreciate setting my own hours, the air conditioner and the nearness of a fridge and toilet. All things conspicuously missing from the previous line of employment where I had to take orders, lift heavy things and dig holes so someone else could fill them in.

But the act of creative writing is not all tea and biscuits. There is a heavy downside. I find satisfaction in finishing projects. Construction was fantastic in this respect. Clear instructions with strict deadlines for completion. Raw materials arrive on site which we turned into structures. I also liked the problem solving aspect, the hard work and job satisfaction at the end.

Therein lies the problem. There is no ‘finished’ when it comes to writing. You’ll never submit a ‘perfect’ story or article. Each day I look back on previous work and inevitably start screwing around with tenses and phrasing. More descriptions and less dialogue here. Insert a missing link between scenes. That niggling inner editor never rests.

This is why you must take a stand and make submissions at less than 100%. I think I achieve 'excellence' around 90%, and really I can’t fudge that figure upwards since continuous improvement is what writing is all about. With a trillion ways to put words together and new ones being added every day, what hope do we have of reaching that misty pinnacle of literary perfection.

2 comments:

Satima Flavell said...

Probably zilch, bug that's OK:-)

Are you on Facebook? I checked, but there are several Michael Coopers just in Australia. Please friend me if you have a page, and you might also like to friend my son Kurt Neist who is a heavy metal muso who reads Pratchett:-)

Will mirror this on my blog, too.

Coops said...

Hi Satima. Sent you a friend request.