The Myth of Perfection

NCWA welcomes Joe Bunting from The Write Practice in the final post of his writing prompts.

This post contains excerpts from Joe’s e-book. See links following post to obtain the complete version.

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Perfect is no place for a writer. Listen to me: you will never write a perfect novel, short story, essay, blog post, sentence.

Everything you write will be criticized. If it’s not, then it has been ignored. Your job is not to write perfect sentences. Stop thinking it is. No one will praise you. They will either ignore or criticize you. (Even if you are lauded, you will care more about the criticism than the praise.) That is your fate if you want to write.

I want to write. So I will write pieces that are open to criticism (even from myself). Pieces I know are imperfect. I will publish them anyway.

You have to write something you’re not an expert in. You have to begin the novel you aren’t ready to begin. You have to write the blog post that is immature and incomplete. This idea that you will be perfect is a myth. It is a lie from the enemy of creativity, the one who wants to destroy your life.

You will never be perfect. This is a good thing, of course, because your readers aren’t perfect either, and how could you ever relate to them in your writing if you were perfect? People don’t need you to be perfect for them.

They need you to be so completely honest about yourself and the world that they realize they are not alone. There’s someone out there who gets it. (There will be those who demand perfection and are disappointed when you don’t measure up. Slough them off like a too large jacket. You don’t need them.)

The opposite of perfectionism is vulnerability…

The Prompt
The most vulnerable (and therefore interesting) people are children. Describe a child, either one you know or one you’ve made up.

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Excerpts and writing prompt from Joe Bunting’s e-book,

14 Prompts, available by clicking on the link.

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Joe Bunting is the founder of  The Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone. Click here to view his website.

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