Your Writing Is Never Going To Be Perfect, and That's Okay.

It's time we all stop trying so hard and start embracing that we suck.

1/2/20232 min read

I probably shouldn't be telling you this because I make my living as an editor, but your writing will never be perfect. Perfection is absolutely unobtainable — yes, even in writing. This isn't a fear tactic to make you throw down your pen and burn your dreams of publication or a marketing tactic to ask you to beg your nearest editor for advice. It's a lifeboat: an invitation to stop flailing through the sea of words and start floating. And, let me tell you, what a relief it is to stop fighting the current.

Many of us feel overwhelming pressure to produce flawless work. It's exhausting. In the pursuit of perfection, creating can seem futile or unfulfilling. We've all been there — sitting at our desks, staring at a blank page, feeling the weight of our own expectations on our shoulders. We know we need to produce something incredible that will blow our readers away and leave them begging for more. But here's the thing: it's never going to be perfect. And guess what? That's okay. Something perfect cannot grow or improve, which is basically the definition of "stagnation." Seems pretty boring, right?

The "perfect" piece of writing is a myth because what you consider perfect and what I consider perfect are inherently different. So then, from a purely philosophical perspective, we have to consider how logical the idea of perfection really is. It doesn't really hold up. If something is subjective and without flaws, how could it be open to interpretation, consideration, or anything less than pure adoration? The answer is: it couldn't. Therefore, a "perfect" story does not exist.

Suppose then that you had been speaking hyperbolically when you said you wanted to write the perfect story: "What I meant was that I want to write the best possible story I can. Something that someone out there thinks is perfect."

If that's the case, what you're worried are flaws may actually be your most essential skills. If perfection is subjective, then we're all really lucky there are so many different authors and stories in the world! Every writer has their own style, voice, and way of expressing themselves; embracing your own quirks helps to set your work apart. You are what makes your writing unique. What you bring to each piece could become the fancy of a reader's subjective interpretation of perfection, and if so, you've certainly accomplished your goal.

While it's natural to want to put our best foot forward, the pursuit of perfection can actually be detrimental to our writing. It can lead to writer's block, procrastination, and low self-esteem. Becoming overpowered by the thought of not being enough has, historically, led me to write nothing at all. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes, and it's okay to have flaws because at least you have something. Take it from an editor: it's easier to improve a written page than to try working on one that still living in your head.

Let go of what your story could be, and anchor yourself in what it is.

We can always revisit when the waters are calmer.