Thursday, October 20, 2016

Imperfect? Perfect!

Zestful Blog Post #181

Pre-blog note: I’ll be doing the Florida Writers Association conference this weekend. Subtropical friends, I look forward to seeing you there! Please make a point of coming to my presentations and panel discussion, as they will be the best.

Today’s blog:

Recently I read and posted reviews for a book that’s not perfect. It’s a first book. I gave it four stars, a very good rating, not because I thought the book had tons of literary merit, but because I thought it was written from the heart. (And it does have literary merit.) I thought other readers might enjoy it and benefit from what the author had to say.

The book is Forever Built of Days by Jessie Witt Pannell. It’s a memoir in the form of a pastiche of prose and poetry. Jessie is a good writer. The object lesson here, though, is this: She felt inspired to write a book about her life; she didn’t get hung up on following some form or other; she wrote the book; she put it out there. There are little things here and there I might wish she’d done differently, but overall the book succeeds. It isn’t perfect, but it’s out there.

[Is this window box perfect? It isn't! It is! Look at that lobelia!]

This is something I saw over and over as a judge for Writer’s Digest self-published-book competitions. Those contestants got their books out into the world. Most betrayed a lack of writing experience but by God those books had gotten written, finished, and offered.

I’m not advocating careless work. I’m advocating giving it your best shot, then moving forward with a peaceful heart. This is something I must remind myself of all the time. So I figured I’d get in your face about it today too! Thanks for being my friend.

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  1. Hey Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for your thoughts on perfectionism. I wrote Forever Built of Days in an attempt to leave behind several of my perfectionistic tendencies. You're right; if I hadn't let those go, I never would have written a book. The most encouragement I received from your book, You've Got a Book in You, was to just write, imperfections and all. You can't edit or perfect something that isn't down on paper. And now I'm off to improve on my imperfections! Keep kicking us writers in the pants! One day, I will turn out the perfect sentence, and I will think of you.

  2. Jessie! What a lovely comment. You're spot on, and I hope you're working on the next big thing!


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