Perfect Is The Enemy Of Done (#IWSG)


So…exactly just how “good” is “good enough”?

Talk about a loaded question. That’s a double-barrelled shotgun, if I ever saw one.

It’s difficult to know, isn’t it? When you’re as close to your work as writers tend to be, it’s difficult to gain a proper perspective. I mean, if your art and craft is building tables, it’s pretty easy to tell when a table is done, and whether or not it wobbles on one leg.

The “good enough” debate with the Infernal, Internal Editor usually happens when a first draft is complete. So much potential there. Also, so much terror.

This is why it’s so important we have BETA readers, and editors (of the non-Infernal variety), and writing groups to help us gain the needed perspective. But there comes a point when the revisions and rewrites must end, and we must put our stories into the world.

Instant panic attack, for some of us. Even when instinct tells us we did as good a job as we could possibly do, we have that little voice that tells us “Just one more pass. What could it hurt?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that Perfect does not been Done. Rather, Perfect is the ENEMY of Done.

I say this because 1) stories are an artform as well as craft, it’s all subjective. What’s perfect to you (or your Infernal Editor), won’t be perfect for everyone; and, 2) you could go on revising forever, searching for Perfect, and end up revising the life right out of your story. After awhile your story loses its vibrancy along with your unique voice, and becomes sterile.

Who wants sterile in their art? A sterile painting, after all, is a blank canvas.

There comes a time when you just have to let your story out into the Big Bad World, and move on to the next one. And then the next, and then the next.

So do the very best job you possibly can. Tell your Infernal Editor to shut the hell up. Release your story into the world, and keep writing. That’s how we get the job done.


2 thoughts on “Perfect Is The Enemy Of Done (#IWSG)

  1. lauraclipson says:

    This is great advice, and so true. There is definitely such a thing as too much editing; you have to be careful not to go over that line. Like you say, beta readers help with this 🙂

  2. cgcoppola says:

    Good post. I once had an english teacher that wouldn’t give higher than a 96 because she said you can always improve on it. True… but if that’s the case, the damn thing would never see the light of day. You’ve got to trust your intuition. Thanks for sharing!

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