The Futility of Imperfection

Twelve years ago I started this blog and a lot has happened in twelve years, not the least has been how blogs have become increasingly insignificant in the world of social media. And yet I blog on. Now I also video on, because BookEnds has a YouTube channel. All of the same great material, just in video form.

It took me about three months from idea to inception to create that first video. I was nervous and unsure of what I would talk about. Sure I’ve been blogging for years, but could I talk about it? Far different from writing. And then I did it. I created not one, but three videos and I stuttered, I stumbled over my words, I hated my voice, I looked ridiculous at times, I made funny faces, I edited the video and couldn’t get the music perfect…and I posted them. All three of them.

They are not only imperfect, they are likely as far from perfect as videos can get. I’ve already learned a lot (my 12-year-old told me to buy a microphone–I did), I’ve already made changes (James told me I have to move my chair in front of the bookshelf–I will), and the next one will be absolutely…imperfect. Twelve years on this blog and I would guess nearly every post is imperfect. I’ve always been open about the fact that there are spelling errors, grammar errors, even factual errors. I’ve stumbled over my words, I’ve worded things in a way that offended, or at least enraged, and I’ve made a ton of mistakes. I’ve even accidentally posted drafts that make absolutely no sense. And yet I continued, I grew a readership, and I grew a business.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from starting a business, blogging, social media, and now YouTube is that there is no such thing as perfection and, frankly, I think working to make things perfect, whether it’s your book, blog, Tweets, or yourself, is futile. The more time we waste obsessing over making things perfect the less we actually get done. Most published authors will tell you that their first book (to them) is cringe-worthy, or at the very least not great. Let me correct them. The books are great, they were published and readers read enough of them for you to build a career on. But times have changed, authors change, and hopefully, we’ve, all grown. It’s not that the books were bad, it’s that they weren’t perfect. Nothing is.

Sometimes the biggest decision you have to make isn’t starting, it’s stopping. It’s deciding that it’s time to move on to the next thing and just put what you’ve done out there. You’ll learn as you grow and you’ll make mistakes. But I think it’s far better to put something out there that’s imperfect than never to put anything out there at all.

Category: Blog

Tags:

8 comments

  1. Not for publication, obviously. I’m not sucking up. Your blog is *wonderful*. Very *real*. I saw one of your videos (about querying, I think). Also very *real*. Never stop! You’re a *star*!

  2. Thank you fir another great post, Jessica. Over the years, your imperfect contributions have helped make a little less imperfect my understanding of the publishing business, including the query process, submissions, #MSWL, networking, marketing, handling offers, the role and responsibilities of agents versus editors, changing trends and ever-evolving publishing options … But, more importantly, be it via your blog, tweets, or your new YouTube channel, you provide us with lessons worth learning and ideas worth considering which, in many cases, can be applied to aspects of our lives that go beyond writing and publishing. And that is as far from futility as one can get. So please, keep them imperfections coming!

  3. Thank you, Jessica. Over the years, your imperfect contributions have helped render a little less imperfect my understanding of the publishing business, including the query process, submissions, #MSWL, networking, marketing, handling offers, the role and responsibilities of agents versus editors, changing trends and ever-evolving publishing options … But, more importantly, be it via your blog, tweets, or your new YouTube channel, you often provide us with lessons worth learning and ideas worth considering which, in many cases, can be applied to aspects of our lives that go well beyond writing and publishing. And that is about as far from futility as one can get. So please, keep them imperfections coming!

  4. I know blogs aren’t the nice shiny thing on the internet anymore, but I still like them. It’s why I blog a number of times a week and why I would rather go to an author’s blog (or failing that a web page) than their other social media.

    I’ve made some videos, but am still to find the courage to put them out there.

  5. You are doing exceptionally well. You’ve touched lives.
    You’ve influenced my writing.
    Not sucking up either, but as soon as my draft is cleaned up nicely, i’m sending it to you.

    Thank you for all the rich information you share.

  6. Thank you for the honesty here. So much echoes the writing process, including the importance of staying the course, and not giving up. We each have an honest effort to carry, and so long as we’re trying, as opposed to giving up, or not believing, we’re living a good day. To continue through it, giving our best, even if it is not perfect, is the prize of life. We tried. Our best effort is our best gift.

  7. I started blogging with the idea that it would be long term. I wanted my blog and myself to grow. I’ve been at it since February. It’s challenging, fun and sometimes not so fun. But I made myself a promise and I see no stopping.

    The goal should always be to grow no matter what we do.

    Good stuff. Thanks!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.