Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Myth of the Perfect Book
I have decided there's no such thing as writing the perfect book.
We might write books that are funny and uplifting, dramatic and thought-provoking, or spiritual and enlightening. We might write books that take us to the edges of our strength and force us to push a little harder, to transcend everything we thought we were capable of, to create a new limit to break later on. We might cry as we outline. We might tremble as we write. We can sit back at the end and heave a great sigh and feel that we truly have done what we set out to do . . . and yet, the book is still not perfect.
There will always be typos. There will always be places where we could have shown when we told. There will always be times when we confuse a character's name or forget to hide the key under the mat, thereby making the reader wonder how the hero got in. There will always be something to criticize, regardless of how good the book is.
But that doesn't mean we stop writing.
It means we continue to push ourselves. We continue to stretch ourselves, finding our wings, exploring, expanding, striving. We never, ever give up. But we do it with the knowledge that someone, somewhere, is going to find something wrong with our book.
And that's okay.
It means we're human.
And it means we'll take what we learned from the experience and be grateful for it. We'll grow, we'll hone our skills, and we'll progress. A writer who refuses to learn, who refuses to stretch, will never truly reach the heights he otherwise could. It's the bumps we encounter along the way that knock off our rough spots.
I've had a lot of bumps. But I'm grateful for them.
I can fly higher now than I ever could before.