“But It’s Not Perfect!”

I betcha.

Human beings are not computers. They cannot endlessly replicate the same patterns over and over. Each time you write a sentence, it will be different from the last. Your keyboard will be one more second old, you’ll type it slower, or you’ll make more mistakes.

That last one (I’m guessing) is the one that gets your goat. And I sympathize: it’s extremely tedious to work out all the little kinks out of your work after you write one flawless chapter. Sometimes, the words flow and your prose is excellent. Other times, you painfully cough up a few words and stare at the screen, mind blank.

Humans aren’t only inconstant when writing; they’re inconstant when thinking about writing. Not only will the quality differ from day to day, the urge to write work of any quality will range. This goes for whether you want a good product or a lazily-made one.

Before I tell you something, I’m gonna tell you what I’m not gonna tell you: Half-rate work is okay. This is false, and this is the lie that I probably most detest of lies in writing. Half-rate work is never acceptable. I don’t care if people love it, I don’t care if you got paid for it in cash or awards. If it’s half-rate, then it’s junk. Period.

Then what’s “half-rate”? Remember when we settled that you are the master of your writing career, and that you decide when to win or quit? Well…the work comes from you, right? You can’t do better than your best, correct? So…anything less than your best is half-rate and unfit for reading.

But that just opens up another question: what is your best? “Your best” is determined on how hard you work and the quality of the finished product. “Quality” ascribes to all things that a story needs: characters, plot, places, etc. The stronger these elements are (good heroes, evil villains, strong plot and motives, etc.), the better your story is.

But then there’s the “your” in “your best”. This is the crux of the problem…as well as the core of the solution. The “your” suggests a human mind with human hands and human flaws and human problems typing flawed words onto a screen. The “your” is the problem, and you cannot escape from it.

However, it is also the solution: no machine ever created a story. Humans are the only ones who can, and that means that all stories are flawed. All stories have something wrong with them, be it something as small as typos or something as big as massive plot holes.

The better that you excel yourself, the better your story will be by the standards I just mentioned, until (eventually) you achieve your best. One thing worth noting is that “best” denotes perfection. But…didn’t we just settle that achieving perfection in writing is impossible?

It may not be objectively perfect, but it will be perfect to you. You can stand before the readers of the world and proclaim, “I, Somebody Someone, have created a story to the best of my ability. I could not have done better had I a million years to perfect my manuscript.” So you see, “your best” is as close to objective perfection as you can.

But, of course, this could never be achieved over the course of one draft. So you write, and rewrite, and you bounce ideas off others, you research, you perfect. You don’t stop until you have done your best. if challenged, you have to say that you honestly could not have done better.

So forget “perfect”. Do your best.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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