Oh, the 80s ... those shoulder pads!

So, in case anyone is at all interested in writing, here’s my #1 tip (paraphrased from Princess Projectra/Sensor Girl in the Legion of Super Heroes, many years ago):

Perfection is an illusion. It’s never truly possible to achieve.

I don’t just say that from the perspective of the final product will have errors (and it will!) I say it because the number one obstacle I (and probably many other writers) face is starting a project and almost immediately abandoning it – because the first words/paragraph/page isn’t perfect.

This is even MORE true when it’s a project you are doing on your own, with little hope of selling it, or having people read it (though, thanks to the magic of the internet, the latter is highly more probable these days). If you aren’t seeing a direct response of some kind, it’s har to keep believing the work is worth it.

The other obstacle I face (and why I chose the Elvis Costello quote) is that I often feel the day is a failure if I didn’t write an entire novel/script/play/300-page essay on the closed ecosystem of the Bottle City of Kandor. We live in such immediate times (and most of us have day jobs, significant others, small pets that need feeding) that it’s easy to get nowhere on a long-term project and then beat yourself up (because you weren’t perfect enough to conceive, write and dash off a manuscript to a publisher in 24 hours).

It seems ridiculous, but I swear, I get very depressed that I haven’t cranked out a novel today. Even blogging this feels like I’m Avoiding Today’s Novel.

It took me 6 months to write Obsessed With Star Trek. It took me two years to write my first novel (no, that’s never seen the published light of day, but perhaps with a little editing …) Having monthly deadlines for OWST helped. Making your own deadlines never helped me, but I found setting a page count – 2 pages a day without fail – was what got me through my first book.

So, if you want to write:

A) Expect that it won’t be perfect – that’s what rewriting is for. And often that IS more fun, I swear.

B) You won’t finish it all in one day (unless it’s a blog entry – and even then :P)

C) Do something. Something is better than nothing.






Leave a Reply