Friday, June 10, 2011

The Rant of a Perfectionist

First of all, I want to thank all the readers who commented on my previous post. I found your comments very helpful and fulfilling! I'm glad to know the piece sparks some interest. :)

Do you ever think back on an old project you've done and think, "That was pretty awesome?" So you decide, after months of hibernation, to wake it up, only to find it was nothing like you remember? In fact, it was so far off from what you remember that you find yourself wanting to burn it (from your own mind and anyone else's who might have had the privilege of reading it) and then crawl into a hole? Or that you are sick to your stomach--literally--over the way it just...well...sucks?

Or, worse, you feel this way from a more recent project--one you just recently thought was amazing and had really showcased just how far you've come?

Okay, maybe it's just a writer thing.

Or maybe it's just a bad self-conscious writer thing.

Yes, this post is a gripe session, so bear with me. Seems really fitting after the Sunshine Award I just got on Runner Mom Jen's blog, doesn't it? (Thanks again, Jen!)

I have come a long way as a writer, of that I am sure. Looking back at those old projects (and sometimes the new), all the imperfections scream at me from the pages laptop screen, and the perfectionist inside me can't rest until it's all fixed and perfect.

Only problem is, it'll never be perfect. Never ever.

And we are all our own worst critics. I am the inventor of being hard on yourself. I don't know how to not be. Even after fulfilling praise on my writing, I still only see the flaws. I compare myself to others, read other people's work and wistfully dream of being as good as they are. When instead I should be grateful for my own talent, proud of my voice.

And really, I am. I have really come to find my writing voice over this last year, and this blog has been a small factor in that. But I still want to advance, I always want to be better.  And I suppose that's a good thing, but how do I see those imperfections (sometimes pointed out by others) without letting it deflate that pride in my craft?

It's a never-ending battle, and something I will always be struggling with, I think. Maybe someday, when I can walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on the shelf (crossing my fingers), that will go away.

Or maybe it will just get more intense.

Who knows. All I know is that each time I take a big step, like posting some of my work on my blog, or letting a friend read my MS, my confidence as a writers grows--because of how extremely nail-biting the process is. Heck, a year ago I was so private about my writing that even telling someone I was a writer made me nervous. I had another, more private, blog where I could rant about my writing frustrations and the process I was going through (querying, revising, etc.) in more of a non-public way.

Because I was scared. And I still am. But I am pushing through it.

And I really, truly, honestly abhor love and need constructive criticism, despite my fears. I mean it when I say I want to know the truth about my work. Because I am a perfectionist, and I need to know what others see wrong with it, so that I can decide if it is best for the piece to change it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.

Anyway, just struggling a little with my writing confidence, as I sometimes do. But don't worry (like anyone really is), it's nothing that won't go away with a little more self-assurance and settling-in-of-the-just-posting-something-publicly.

And toddler kisses. There's no room for negative thoughts when the cutest two-year-old has just given you kisses.

3 comments:

~Beck~ said...

I'd tell you if something was wrong with your writing Jennie. :) I promise that, but I loved that last piece. I'm still reading through "Prayers for Russell" and I'll send it back with notes. :)

Jessica said...

Regardless what you think, I think your writing is amazing! I have loved reading your books! You have a way with words that not many writers have anymore. Every time I read your books I feel like I'm there, and that's a tough thing to do. Keep on writing so I can keep on reading:) Love you Jen!

lindsayfield said...

I think you're an awesome writer! I look forward to your posts all the time! I know I don't comment as much as I would like to, but please PLEASE know that your skills are thoroughly enjoyed!!