Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Imperfect Pursuit of Perfection

Random musings for fellow aspiring authors:

Well, I'll be darned.  Blog is still here underneath the cobwebs and fluff of a hectic 2011.  Let's catch up, shall we?  Lots of good stuff happened in once the winter sickness quaranteen was lifted - house upgrades, birthdays, family road trips and lots of learning about being a dad to two children.

As planned at the start of last year, writing happened in there somewhere.  Not here on the blog (obviously), but elsewhere in quiet corners of dark rooms, late at night away from the constant call of corporate life and family responsibility.  I finished a full and detailed revision of my western novel and got deep into a new project, which I am dying to push to completion.

Behind both of those projects, my greatest acheivement of 2011 was the realization that being "THERE" as a writer is a destination that exists far off the highway of life; it is more like the clouds on the horizon than a dot on a map.

I wrote my first novel at the age of 17 and dreamed (well, assumed) I would find success before my 21st birthday.  My fourth novel was finished in '98 - and I boldly predicted that with hard editing I could be a literary rock star by 25.  Years passed, edits continued.  "Awesome" revisions turned into "Perfect" revisions, which gave way to "More Perfect" revisions.  Years passsed and life demanded time and offered perspective - the "More Perfect" manuscripts becoming mediocre and unworthy.  I finally wrote another book during Nanowrimo in 2008 and for the first time in my life knew that the end product was experience worthy but not print worthy.

That's a heavy wake up call, one that I never imagined coming as a brilliant 17 year old.  Say it with me: "MY STORY IS NOT PRINT WORTHY."  Ahhhhhh....  Nice.   Does it feel good?  Feel bad? 

Now try this one on for size:  "I AM PRINT WORTHY".  Better, isnt' it?  That's the whole objective here in growing as a writer: the imperfect pursuit of perfection.  You can't hone your craft if you're not open to reshaping your vision of the future.  Hope.  Dream.  Try and experiment.  Fail - it's an integral part of the process.  Then, pick yourself up and move on.  Even the best of stories end.  After that comes another story and another Chapter One.

Open the cover.  Scratch down some words.  Learn.  Live.

Ok, time is up.  Part of the new resolution, you see.  Purge the mind and chew bubble gum, then move along.  Be well, write well - see you soon.