Monday, May 24, 2010

Motivational Monday - on perfectionism

"The perfect is the enemy of the good." ~ Voltaire

photo credit: Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams is a fan of that quote. For he understands that if he were to wait for everything in the shot to be perfect, he would never take the shot. And wouldn't that be a shame?

In the book ART AND FEAR by David Bayles and Ted Orland, it says:

"To demand perfection is to deny your ordinary (and universal) humanity, as though you would be better off without it. Yet this humanity is the ultimate source of your work; your perfectionism denies you the very thing you need to get your work done. Getting on with your work requires a recognition that perfection itself is (paradoxically) a flawed concept."

I think every author struggles with the issue of perfectionism in one way or another. For me, it's more of a big picture thing - I'm not as good of a writer as I wish I was, and sometimes that keeps me from opening the document. Like - what's the point? Why even try? So I have to get over that thing and open the document and get lost in the story, and then, I'm fine. Sure, the inner critic can be annoying some days, but I'm not paralyzed because each sentence isn't perfect. But I know some writers struggle with it more at that level.

With each of my published books, there was point where the thoughts and worries of my brain disappeared and all that was left was the story of my heart that I just had to share. I remember when I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME I was so excited about the story I was telling. The way I was telling it was new and different for me, though, which was really scary! I didn't know if I was doing it right or if it was any good or any of that. But eventually, it just didn't matter anymore. The story - of love and loss, of healing and hope - it mattered. And in my heart, I knew that, and it kept me going.

There is no such thing as perfect.

But we all know there IS such thing as a good story. A story from the heart.

I can do that.

YOU can do that.


(Winner of the ARC contest coming later today!)


  1. I've found perfection to be relative to the day I'm reading whatever I've written. One day it looks like crap. The next it reads perfect. I, too, would much rather achieve good.

  2. Excellent post Lisa. And you must have a very harsh inner critic, because you are a wonderful writer, and I don't see how you could get any better. :) Thanks for sharing this though--I definitely put too much pressure on myself to get every. word. perfect. It's not a healthy way to write. Totally stifles creativity.

    Happy Monday and Happy writing!

  3. I want to print this and put it above my writing space! Thank you so much. Lately, I've been hamstrung by perfectionism. But right now I want to stay up late and keep writing the story of my heart. Bless you!