The Danger of Perfectionism

Perfectionism keeps us from moving ahead. We all want to do well, but fear of failure has to be behind perfectionism somewhere.

I’ve edited my first story until I’m nearly blind. I need to let it set and revisit it one last time. I’ve done this with every artistic endeavor I’ve ever attempted. When I look at anything I’ve ever created, I can see every pimple in it. Others say it’s good, but I just can’t stop.

It’s probably bad to discuss these things online. Potential readers might be turned away if I degrade my own work. I’m going to risk it though. If I have this problem, other writers might too.

I know there’s too much telling in this story. If you study writing, most would have you believe there shouldn’t be any. Every story should show the reader what’s happening, and let the reader experience it. It just isn’t that simple though.

How on Earth do you let your character smell cinnamon, without just saying it? It might be possible to let the reader experience it, but how many pages would it take to get the point across? Word count matters too.

Telling is useful for movement too. If the character has to go to Mars, just say it and get it done. This is my opinion only, and you have to decide whether I’m crazy or not.

I learned a couple of tricks whilst editing though. I’ll share them with you since you’ve read this far. There are specific words that indicate showing. I did a word search and assessed each one of them. Some I changed for the better, some I left alone.

Here are the ones I’m aware of (so far): Felt, Knew, Thought, Wondered, and sometimes Was.

I also have some personal sin words. I used the same search to check these out: That, Just, Very, & Though. In my case, “That” and “Though” really get overused. Your words might be completely different.

I could be wrong, but I think it’s about time to shop for a cover artist. Perfect doesn’t exist. I just hope it’s good enough. I also hope discussing these blemishes doesn’t turn off potential readers.

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