Words on a Page Writings about writing

When will your writing be perfect?

Someone writing by hand in a notebook

Never.

Yes, you read that correctly. Your writing will never be perfect. Whatever perfect means when it comes to writing.

Why? Perfection is impossible. Full stop. So stop arguing with me, kid.

It’s rare for what you write to come out the way you originally envisioned it. There will always be deviations, deficiencies, small flaws due to deadline pressures or your inexperience or any number of other factors.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just as jewellers don’t reject diamonds with flaws, you shouldn’t stress about flawed writing.

Don’t let the demon of perfectionism hold you back. If you keep waiting to submit or publish your writing in the vain hope of making it perfect, you’ll never submit or publish anything. If you let perfectionism paralysis take hold, you’ll never finish writing anything.

I’m sure everyone reading this posts wants to improve as a writer. I’m sure a few of you want your writing to go from being your avocation to your vocation. But writing and rewriting in an endless cycle, trying to make your writing perfect, will lead you to never finishing what you’re trying to write. It could reach a point where perfectionism paralysis stops you from starting anything.

That’s no way to improve your writing. That’s no way to pick up the skills and experience you need to become a professional.

Instead, make what you write as good as you can get it. Then, press Send or press the Publish button. Yes, there will be people who will heap criticism on you and what you’ve written — some of that criticism could be quite cruel or personal. But you might also get some positive feedback, which will help you improve and grow.

If you’re ever on the fence, ask yourself this question: What’s the worst that could happen if I submit or publish my writing? Chances are you won’t become a social pariah or be branded an abject failure. Rejection or criticism might be setbacks, but they’re setbacks you can learn from.

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