Striving For Imperfection

Let’s face it. Nobody’s perfect and your novel won’t be either. Neither will mine. That is what NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo mean to me. I am learning to strive for imperfection.

Imperfection doesn’t mean the novel is bad. On the contrary, a “perfect” novel would be almost unreadable. Perfection is boring. It is the imperfections that make our stories come to life. It is the little quirks that a character has that makes them interesting. It is the twists and turns that holds the readers attention. A “perfect” book would offer them very little that they want.

Yes, this is what I keep telling myself. Writing months are for learning to make mistakes. They are for learning to embrace our mistakes.  So, why does my inner editor keep yelling at me to clean up that sentence, that paragraph? Doesn’t he know he is supposed to be taking a break this month? Doesn’t he realize that the whole idea is to allow those ideas to flow without that messy little mistake slowing them down? Stopping to clean up my story interrupts the flow. There is a time for that, and it isn’t when I am supposed to be writing.

I imagine my little editor as a red, devil-like creature, with a huge red pen with flames coming out of it and a cruel smile on his face. The image is so funny, it makes me laugh. I can start to work on my story again, at least for a while. That little devil won’t take a hint. He just keeps coming back.

Go away, devil boy. I’m writing. Go torment a poor, college student, who is trying to write that term paper he is dreading. Maybe even that graduate student working on his thesis. I’ll call you when I’m ready. Now, shew. I’m going to write.

Imperfection is easy to achieve. The right imperfection is a bit harder. How do you know when you have achieved the right level of imperfection?

I don’t have the answer, but I will keep writing. Maybe, just maybe, I will know when I achieve it. Or I will just stop and say “I’m done”. Either way, the story will be in my “completed” folder. Now, I just have to start one of those.



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