Not everything you write will be perfect. Are you ok with that?
Not everything you write will move forward to completion. Are you ok with that?
The first one is pretty tough to deal with. We all want perfect writing. It’s hard to not keep working and working and working at something until you get it just right. My latest play is in proof form and still I can’t help tinkering. Trying to get it perfect.
But over time it becomes easier to realize that if you want your writing out in the world it has to reach “doneness.” Doneness can be wonderful, and it can be your best work and not be perfect. And that’s ok. It has to be. Because as we have all heard time and time again – nothing is perfect. It’s tough to come to terms with that, but not impossible.
But what about that second one. What about the idea that some of your work will never, ever reach doneness? It won’t even come close.
Could you walk away from a piece of writing?
That would feel like failure wouldn’t it? That would feel like your quitting. That would feel like you couldn’t hack it as a writer. That would be proof that you will never be a writer.
No. No, no, no, no.
You can’t think like that. What if you had a great idea that just doesn’t flesh out? What if you started writing a play but quickly realize it’s more suited to being a novel, and you don’t write novels. What if you lose your passion?
Maybe you need a break from your writing and everything will come together later. But maybe it just doesn’t work.
There are many reasons why a piece won’t reach the finish line. Not everything you write will succeed every time. And so what if it feels like failure? Failure in the arts is good. You have to fail. You should try things knowing they might fail and do them anyway.
If you’re trying to avoid failure as a artist, then you’re doing it wrong.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t leave everything half finished in a drawer. But if you’re consistently writing, and consistently finishing product and then this blip in the road comes along, treat it just as it is – a blip in the road. It’s a pot hole, not a pit. Don’t collapse into a deep dark hole that isn’t there. Simply put the words to the side and pick up something else.
It’s ok to leave that writing and move on. That’s what writers do.