“Perfect is the enemy of good.” —Voltaire
Recently, one of my friends handed me a printout of an article by Tim Herrera of the New York Times: “It’s Never Going to Be Perfect, So Just Get It Done.” It’s a good read, and I really identified with what he wrote.
You know…I could be wrong, but I think that she was trying to tell me something.
So here I am feeling kinda bad about how little I have accomplished on my novel thus far. I have been reworking the first installment of the Wyldling Series for the past several months, which translates into me rewriting everything to fit into the new paradigm. Every time I feel that I’ve made some progress, suddenly my brain vomits forth some new, cool idea about something I really should’ve included in a previous chapter. This is how the original version of my novel became so cumbersome and part of the reason why it is taking me so long to finish (that, and over-editing.)
I’ve found a way to discipline myself on this front – just a little bit.
In order to keep myself from sliding off the Cliffs of Insanity and into shrieking eel-infested waters, I simply make a note of every new idea in the book outline and then move on reworking each chapter, one at a time. I don’t lose those ideas and actual progress is made. And if it turns out that an outside editor thinks the current idea as written sucks, I can pull a second or third stringer off the bench to try out.
It’s slow going, but all is working out according to the plan.
I ask myself: So, you have an actual plan? That’s great! What is it?
Myself responds: Um…to finish writing my book and then try to get it published?
I: Yeah, but have you set some achievable goals?
Myself: Huh? Goals? What are those?
I: *sighs in exasperation* Then, how about at east setting a deadline for yourself?
Myself: Well, you know what they say about deadlines…
I: Now you’re just making excuses!
Myself: Yes. Yes, I am.
Me: Hey, guys! Feeling a mite peckish, here. Let’s get some Doritos!
Beware folks, for Perfectionism = Procrastination.
See, if I want to finish the book, there comes a point when I will have to say “good enough” and find an editor to help me get the manuscript ready to publish. It all comes down to fear, really. If I never finish it, then I don’t have to go through the agony of having my book rejected a gazillion times by literary agents and publishers. Yes, I am going to try traditional publishing first, even though I realize it will probably be a no-go all around. I’ve told myself that I want to start a huge collection of rejection letters. Keep a portfolio or a scrapbook of’em and everything.
But first, I have to stop procrastinating, tell the Internal Editor to SHUT UP and finish the *bleeping* book!
On that note, I’m off to take Tim Herrera’s advice.