perfect rough drafts?

I have a week to polish as much of my first draft before printing it up and handing a copy over to my beta reader.  I’ve been going over my book so much my eyes hurt.  And my brain is treading water, begging me to stop, please.  DO anything, else.  Please.

I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist.  I like to bake and while I love picture perfect looking baked goods, if/when my creations don’t look gorgeous, I shrug it off and am happy that they taste good. I leave the perfect looking stuff to bakeries.  I have picture frames on the wall that hang ever-so-slightly crooked, doesn’t bother me.  I know, some of you are twitching over that, sorry.  I only want to point out, I’m not a perfectionist, not when there are books to read, hills to hike, cookies to bake, and knock-knock jokes to respond to.

My sudden all-hours-of-the-night-rush to perfect my story as much as possible before giving it to a reader who is well aware that it’s far from ready to publish, is pretty new to me.  There is no such thing as a perfect rough draft.  That’s why they call it a rough draft.  And it makes sense, so why am I determined to try?  I think it’s because I’ve never written a full length, fictional story before.  Short stories yes.  Non-Fiction yes.  But this is like creating something that no one has seen before, and hoping people won’t point, laugh and say, “You call that a story?!”

What if they do?  I already know my beta reader, excuse me, Beta Reader, (she deserves capitals), likes the premise, and as much of what she’s heard in writer’s group.  I’m sure she’ll have good advice for whatever doesn’t work, and be considerate in whatever she says.  Am I to be so afraid of her opinions, and others, that I never hand in a copy because it’s not perfect?

No.  I decided today this is not to be.  I must unclench.  I stepped away from the computer and picked up a book.  I’ve got a three-day weekend to relax, to think, to breathe and not write.  I’m going to do it.  I am.  Honest.  If you have perfectionist habits, what do you do to dissuade yourself from fully indulging in them?

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4 thoughts on “perfect rough drafts?

  1. katieballradio

    OH i know this one all too well. Not so much with writing anymore, most likely because I haven’t written anything big in a long long time. But with radio production I can get so focused (and yes, sometimes hyperfocused) on “perfection” that I snip, cut, slide thoughts around until… well, until when? Until a deadline? What if it’s a personal piece and the deadlines are my own?

    So here’s what I do (and I have all manner of distracting things to choose from as I’m sure you do, too): I think about the art I love; the music, the films, the literary works–and I also think of “good” works that still leave me cold. The difference? One can be technically proficient and have a bullet-proof piece of work, but is the fire still there? Rock N Roll is messy, sweaty, and fiery. Rock N Roll, if done right, makes you forget to try and look cool. So fire up the tunes, step away from your baby, and rock out like no one (and everyone) is watching. You are a rock star!!

    Reply

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