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Perfection vs. Reality

I've been working on my biggest project yet, and I am so excited about how it's coming along. This summer is going to be rewrites, as I changed a few plot points after the novel was finished, but I should be moving into full on editing mode soon. This is a story I've written about four times now, and once I finish these rewrites, this will be my fifth time. Fair to say, I am fairly attached to the characters.

The story has changed drastically each time I've written it, but the characters have been pretty consistent. This time around, I have a few major characters in play, probably the most I've ever written. I've been writing fantasy for a really long time, but this is the first time I'll be publishing something fantasy, so I'm a little nervous about how everything is going to work.

For years (this first version of this story ever written was in 2013 as a part of National Novel Writing Month) I have been telling myself this story is too big for me. It's too complicated. I can't start a book series, I'm not ready yet. I'm not a strong enough artist yet to pull this off the way I want to. I'm not ready yet.

Once I finished The Prisons, I was so excited to start working on this new series. I had some experience under my belt, I thought I was ready. And the more I worked on it, I realized I'm still not ready to tell this story. It's still not coming out perfectly. It's still not good enough.

I've been catching myself lately and trying to stop this kind of thinking. If I waited until I was ready, I would be waiting forever. I will always be able to be a stronger writer. If I wait until I'm a perfect writer, I'll never write anything. I'm trying to focus on my best, not the best.

I think this is something I fall into a lot. "If its not going to be perfect, why bother?" I look back at Prison 917 and regret parts of it. I think about how I should have done it, how I could have changed that line, how I could have written it better. But the only reason I can find areas to improve upon is because I wrote it and finished it.

I am a stronger writer now than I was when I wrote Prison 917. That's why Prison 456 is better, and Prison 268 is better than that. My next novel will be better than all three of those. And the next one will be better than that.

I'm not ever going to be ready to publish this story, no matter how long I work on it. Which is why I'm aiming to publish it. At some point, it will be good enough. Not perfect, but good enough. And I'll come out of it a stronger artist. And that's the part that is important to me.

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