Looking for Perfection

DSC09849Some of our family members will be moving soon. Others are hoping to. Over the past year we’ve helped both families scour real estate advertisements and follow umpteen For Sale signs in the hope of finding the perfect new home — the perfect location, the perfect condition, and the perfect features at the perfect price. Apparently it doesn’t exist.

My hubby and I have moved many times during our years serving in different churches. Often we lived in manses — houses provided by the church — but in the latter years we bought our own homes. Price was always a determining factor, but except for when I was running a business and the space had to accommodate my equipment, we didn’t have a lot of requirements. We needed three bedrooms, one of which would be used as an office. With four children an ensuite bathroom was desirable, as was a fenced yard for the dogs. We ended up with some less-than-perfect houses, but we moved right in and made ourselves comfortable anyway.

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I’m sure our families will eventually find the houses that are right for them, too. They won’t likely be perfect, but they’ll meet the necessary criteria and will quickly evolve into comfortable ‘home central’ sanctuaries .

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I thought of all this after reading DD Shari Green‘s blog post yesterday. The question was asked, “In your writing life, and in particular your efforts to reach your March Madness goals, what’s your Biff?” The reference will be familiar to those who are “Back to the Future” fans, but if it’s not, feel free to stop reading and whip over to Shari’s blog to discover its background. Go ahead. I don’t mind waiting….

Did you notice all the “Biffs” people mentioned in their comments — obstacles such as rambling writing, health issues, perfectionism, self-doubt, tiredness, guilt, fear of failure, procrastination and lack of initiative. A few even mentioned their children! So many things stand in the way of creating the perfect book.

In a perfect writer’s world there would be limitless story ideas, uninterrupted blocks of time to develop them, a driving desire to write, and a lucrative publishing contract plus oodles of readers waiting when we’ve completed our perfectly written book. That’s in the perfect world. The one that doesn’t exist for us any more than the perfect house does for my family.

DSC08776Instead, we may have to compromise a little and recognize that while perfection is beyond our reach, producing a well written story isn’t. We have to write (and finish) it, improve it with revisions, get it thoroughly critiqued, revise it some more, then, even if it’s not quite perfect (and it won’t be), send it out into the world. Omitting any of the necessary steps dooms us to the rank of real estate ‘looky-loos’, ever dreaming, but never taking action to help the dreams become reality.

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7 thoughts on “Looking for Perfection

  1. Love this post and the link to your daughter’s. Fun to look at those movie clips. I find I keep getting stuck in the same trap…. constantly looking for perfection, struggling with self-doubt, believing no one cares what’s inside my head (especially if I can’t make it “perfect”), then giving up. Again and again! Ugh! Appreciate the encouragement to keep going :)

  2. joylene says:

    Our realtor was here yesterday. We should have a sign by next week. You’re so right, Carol. It’s all about compromise and what is really important. An ensuite, for instance, would be a deal breaker for me. That and I will have to be close to Cory’s. Otherwise, I could probably live in the tiniest little place. As long as I have internet.

    Hope the process is pleasantly eventful for the family.

  3. territiffany says:

    I really enjoyed this analogy. Having moved many times and written many books I can say that you have to jump in and do what needs to be done in both areas.

  4. Shari Green says:

    The looky-loos analogy is really good! Love it! I’ll have to remember that whenever perfectionism puts me in danger of falling into the never-taking-action rut.

  5. Darlene says:

    My DD once said (and she is a potter) “Things don’t have to be perfect. Things have to get done.” That could apply to house hunting and writting a book. I think most writters tend to be perfectionists which slows them down and sometimes brings them to a halt. I have to keep reminding myself- just get it done!

  6. Hi Carol – I have trouble with non-stop editing. When my publisher sent me my edits, I saw a few things I was itching to re-write. At some point, I have to say, “it’s done.” Blessings, Susan :)

  7. Carol says:

    Thanks for sharing your comments today, everyone. Darlene, I think I should adopt your daughter’s attitude! It really seems to be reinforced by what everyone else is saying.

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