Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's good to not be perfect

"Let's be honest.  There's not a business anywhere that is without problems.  Business is complicated and imperfect.  Every business everywhere is staffed with imperfect human beings and exists by providing a product or service to other imperfect human beings." - Bob Parsons

Hey, I've done business with GoDaddy, the Internet registrar, before.  That experience proved Bob Parsons, its founder, one hundred percent correct in the quotation above.

That said, I stuck with GoDaddy through my years of running an ISP from my home.  Registered dozens of domains with them.  Why?  As imperfect as they were in some ways, they provided what I needed: low-cost domain registration that worked just fine. My author-related domains aren't registered through them now, but that's primarily because a friend recommended a different company while I was bringing them up.  Know what?  The company I'm with now is imperfect.

Writing is the same way.  I've commented before on the horrors of finding continuity and grammatical errors in works by none less than the great Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Stephen King (the other one, of course), for all of his campaigning against adverbs, sprouts one or two rather frequently throughout his books.  In my own writing, I've spent minutes--hours, even--looking at passages, wondering whether it would be perfect if I left a phrase where it was or moved it over by a few words.

At the end of the effort?  It really doesn't matter.

Have you ever heard the Charley Pride version of the song Kaw-liga?  He starts off talking about adding the song (originally written and recorded by Hank Williams Sr.) to his album, and says "I put one verse where maybe it don't suppose [sic] to be."  Imperfect, that is.  Number one on the charts, it was, regardless.  But then again, it told a good story, despite (or perhaps because of?) its imperfections.

If you're a storyteller, then you need to tell stories.  Period.  Stop worrying over whether or not they're perfect.  Too many people sit and look at the first page of their first novel, worrying over whether or not it'll be great.  I'll settle that now--it won't be.  First drafts stink.  So settle in and write.  And then revise.  Make it as good as it can be, but don't worry about perfection.


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