A State of Ongoing Imperfection

Every book I write makes me want to go back and rework the ones that came before. It can cripple you: the knowledge that there is work out there you would happily unravel and reknit were you given the chance. But it’s a blessing never to be given that chance. In the face of your own imperfection, you shouldn’t move backwards and you shouldn’t stop. You can only hope that each step leads to greater improvement. As such, you must accept that perfection is impossible; that the flawed pieces will continue to accumulate as long as you continue producing work. In the end, the only thing you can strive for, and this is appropriate to all areas of life, is that the map of your endeavors charts a series of tiny improvements, rather than a stagnancy of complacency or defeat. 

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12 Responses to A State of Ongoing Imperfection

  1. SJ O'Hart says:

    I’m going to print this out and stick it up over my workspace… thanks for the words of wisdom.🙂

  2. Emily Cross says:

    Well said Celine and definitely something I need to keep in mind!! I shall also be printing/writing this out, especially “In the face of your own imperfection, you shouldn’t move backwards and you shouldn’t stop. You can only hope that each step leads to greater improvement” – very powerful

  3. Ali Isaac says:

    Really?!! Even for someone with your success? I thought that sentiment was reserved for us newby and Indie writers who lack agents, editors and the like! You did not seem to me to be a woman racked with self doubt, but the fact that you might be is somehow reassuring…I mean that in a good way. You’re right; you can’t improve, unless you recognise your mistakes, and accept them. You can’t move on from them, unless you learn from them. That goes for all areas of life, not just our writing.

  4. Ali Isaac says:

    Really? I thought that sentiment was reserved for us newbie, Indie writers, who lack the benefit of agents, editors and the like! Don’t you look back at your work with a sense of pride and achievement also?

    • Of course I look back on the work with a sense of pride and achievement. I also look back on it with the clear understanding that it will never be good enough. Ever.

      “Agents, editors and the like”, these are all things I’m grateful for. The platform that those people have given me for my work is something I’m grateful for. The knowledge that my work is read (and sometimes loved) is something I’m profoundly grateful for.

      But the work itself is independent of the business of success – if you know what I mean? The work itself is what I’m talking about here – the understanding that it will always be less than what I aspired it to be. As a writer I can chose to fall down under that pressure – or I can use it as a spur to improvement. Some days it’s difficult to choose the later🙂

  5. Ali Isaac says:

    Ah…you are a Perfectionist…who suffers from occasional bouts of self doubt! You are having a very philosophical day. All I can say is, you must be doing something right! In the meantime, carry on carrying on!
    (BTW, sorry about the weird double posting thing…)

  6. Aaah, but your readers grow with you as well.🙂 Loving the books more and more as you both go through them.🙂

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