Letting Go of Perfect
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 18 2021
In BookEnds’s early days, I used to tell authors not to even start querying their book until it was perfect. I regret that now. I was young and I believed perfection was something to strive for. Since then, I have seen through my own work, and the work of others, that done is perfect enough.
Seeking perfection becomes an easy excuse for not finishing. If the book isn’t perfect enough to submit you never have to face rejection. When your cake recipe isn’t yet perfect you never have to open your dream bakery.
Done is Better Than Perfect
Taking action is better than striving for something that doesn’t exist. Making the conscious decision to be done, to finish your book and to send it out.
Learning and growth is done through taking next steps, not getting stuck in the same step, or the same book.
I believe this hits home for so many of us. Thank you for this! I will never feel like my novel is perfect, but it’s done.
A breath of fresh (& comforting) air to read!
I needed to hear/see/read/feel this today. Thank you!
Thank you, Jessica. As a debut novelist this is a struggling part of the process. I appreciate reading this. I will accept this as guidance.
This is why other creative types, such as painters and sculptors, often can’t bear to keep their own art in their homes. There’s always something you want to re-do, some additional touch-up that would make it “perfect” at last (only not! 😀 ) and this could go on forever. At some point it’s time to move on to the next! I know agents aren’t looking for perfection – only for a story they’re excited enough about that they’re willing to invest the time into helping it become even better.
Thank you, I needed to hear this today. The idea of perfection feels so flawed. Perfect according to whose standards? Are those standards even worthwhile? It feels so good to know that ‘done’ is sufficient. ‘Done’ contains everything I want my novel to say and indicates I am ready to let it go.
Jessica, I still have a quote from you pinned to my desk (from a blog post many years ago) where you said the same thing. I refer to it all the time because for me this is such a difficult thing to overcome.
I had always heard that a manuscript had to be perfect before submitting it. My husband encouraged me to start submitting when I felt the story was done. I later found this blog post and it spoke to me that I made the right decision in submitting my manuscript.