Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Perfectionism

Yesterday I finished my first run through of the book. I've actually made quite a few changes. No major surgery, but lots of little tweaks and I know there will be many more to come. I've spotted a few inconsistencies, mainly caused by me fiddling a little with my original planned timeline part way through the first draft. I've tried to enhance the language a little.

All that has led to yet another major crisis of confidence. These seem to be happening roughly weekly at the moment, as I read through what I've written and think it's rubbish. Maybe that's one of the downsides of having studied creative writing, you actually have a good idea of what you are trying to achieve, even if you can't always put it into practice. Maybe it makes me too perfectionist.

Can you be too too perfectionist? I think possibly you can, because it can prevent you ever letting go of your work and sending it out into the big wide world. On the other hand, I keep telling myself this story has been a long time in the making, it is one which is intensely personal and I only have one shot with it. It deserves to be the best I can make it and that is a huge responsibility.

This morning I received a link to this article on editing, which I think I shall use in my next run through. It encapsulates so many of the things I already knew, all on one easy to check page.

So, today it will be back to the beginning. Eek.

9 comments:

SueG said...

My commiserations. I'm always thinking everything I do is, at first blush, fantastic, and then after, totally rubbish. keeping myself positive is my biggest struggle -- even harder than the writing itself. Good luck and keep on plugging!

JJ Beattie said...

Ooh, I shall be there with you soon, Cathy. I think it's good to be self critical, but perfectionist? Well, maybe that needs keeping in check a bit.

Good luck with it.

ChrisH said...

No, it's NOT rubbish! It's fine - you're just too close to it at the moment! Keep calm and carry on!

Queenie said...

I think crises of confidence are par for the course. I do think you're right that it's possible to be too perfectionist, but also that your book deserves to be the best you can make it. Walking the fine line between those two is tricky, but I suspect it gets easier with practise. And you're practising, so go you!

Cathy said...

Thanks for all the moral support everyone. I've not had time for any editing at all today!
Cx

Paul said...

Every day I lose confidence, and then I just wade back in and keep working at it. I've had the same inconsistency problem for the same reasons. I've been working on this novel for nearly 2 years, and I've made lots of changes and other "improvements" in that time. I'm only now catching some of the consequences.

Lately I've been having these mini epiphanies about this or that little fix or revelation or enhancement. Every one has seemed absolutely essential, and I'm beginning to worry that I'll never be finished with the story.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Thanks for the article link, Cathy, very interesting.

You're getting on great aren't you. I'm looking forward to reading through my work and just hope I won't need to do too many corrections.

CJ xx

Cathy said...

Paul, I think that was exactly what I was getting at. When do we draw the line and say enough is enough?

CJ, editing is quite fun actually!

Cx

Paul said...

Cathy,

I'm glad I hadn't drawn the line already. These latest developments in my story fit so perfectly that I would have regretted now allowing myself the chance to include them.

Keep the faith, sister!