Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Does anyone else do this?  You're getting ready to go out, putting on nice clothes, great shoes, doing your hair (I straighten mine.  My 14-year-old self desperately wishes she had straightening tongs, so my present-day self uses them whenever I want to look nice.  If you could see my 8th grade class photo, you would totally understand).  And, of course, makeup.  Stand back.  Look in the mirror.

What do I see?  Not the whole picture -- the nice clothes and decent straightening job.  I see the little frizzy bit over my right ear that I can't tame.  I see the little pill coming up in the shoulder of my sweater.  I see the spot just starting to appear on my forehead above my left eyebrow.

I see the imperfections.

I do the same thing when cooking -- the broccoli is overdone, the sauce is too thick, there aren't enough potatoes to serve my family (in the entire world.  My family loves potatoes.  This is not an imperfection, this is a fact.)

And again in my writing.

I just got my edit letter on Book 2.  And I have to force myself to go back and re-read the first sentence: "Let me begin by saying I loved it!" Because the next nine pages are all about what needs to be fixed.

The imperfections.

It's hard to have the imperfections pointed out.  It's like someone standing in front of you and saying, "You look great, but did you know you had a huge spot just above your eyebrow?"  There's nothing I can do about the spot (maybe a little concealer -- and about three days worth of hiding beneath low-brimmed hats).  But I can do something about the imperfections in Book 2.

And it's good to have someone else point them out.  Because I get so close to my work I can't always see them myself.  Some of them are like that spot -- I know they're there, but I desperately hope everyone else will ignore it.  But I need them pointed out to me.

These imperfections need to be fixed.  It will make the book better.  It's just hard to look them in the face.


  1. But you DO look them in the face, and that's what separates you from the writers who don't make it because they can't come to terms with those imperfections.

    And the good news: if you need a self-esteem booster, you've got many, many writing friends who think your work is brilliant. Just call/email one of us for a pep talk. I'm totally volunteering my services.

  2. I love this post because it's true. I often notice what's imperfect, in lieu of what looks good.

    I really respect the fact that, as a writer, you're willing to acknowledge and improve on what's considered "imperfect" in your work. That leads to growth and that leads to your work becoming the best that it can be.

    Good luck on your novel!