When most people write novels, it is a slow and deliberate process–often painstaking. Most people spend their time trying to attain the perfect words instead of just writing the damn story, and it proves to be fruitless in the end.
Although you have perfect grammar and artificial senses of profundity placed where you want them, your story often lacks substance. Mainly because it lacks story, which is why it ends up getting rejected (if you do get to that stage of shopping the book out rather than rewriting it all the time.)
In this little insight, I’m going to explain why it’s better to just get the shit done rather than try to be a perfectionist all the time, which should be self-explanatory but, since many people do this shit, apparently it’s not.
Alright, so there’s two sides of you that come into play when writing a story. That’s mister perfection, who tries to make every line perfect and take up as much time as possible doing so, and Mr. Get it Done, who doesn’t give a shit and just wants to see how the story plays out.
With Mister perfection, it’s not so much about the story itself but living up to the vision of the perfect story. Mister Perfection doesn’t care about flawed but strong characters, it care about the perception of strong and flawed characters. Mister perfection doesn’t care about story, it cares about being perfect. Thus the name, Mister Perfection.
Mr. Get it Done, on the other hand, only cares about story. it doesn’t give a single fuck about grammar (or the grammar police for that matter) it doesn’t care about fancy techniques and tricks of the trade and all that other bullshit. All of that is just noise that distracts from the only thing that matters, story.
people like to read stories, not calligraphy, and Mr. Get it Done understands this.
So, how do you shoot that S.O.B Mister Perfection and make room for Mr. Get it Done?
Simple, write as fast and as much as you can. Full speed ahead! and don’t stop until you get to the end.
- start with the end in mind.
- imagine how the general story would go, nothing specific, for that borders into plot and complicates things (at least from my view)
- start writing
- resist the urge to go back and edit (this one is crucial, for this is where Mister Perfection likes to sneak in and do its little prissy, picky dirty work)
- get in the zone (find your muse whether it be wine, porn, binge-watching anime, whatever, just find your muse, sit your ass in the chair and keep writing until you get to the end, or you get tired. whichever comes first.)
The point is, it is better to get the story down and perfect it later rather than perfect it in the first go. Stop pressuring yourself to create god-level content and just create content. As a starting writer, your focus should just be consistency, quality and skill come later, and if you’re in it for the long haul (like I am), just chill. You’ll be a Stephen King, John Grisham, Neil Gaiman one day. This is a long term process, not a short term get-rich-quick scheme.
Till next week . . .