Visualize that perfect novel you’ve always wanted to write. See the simple yet elegant design. It’s covered in medals like a four star general’s chest: the Newbery Medal, the Noble Prize for Literature, and the coveted Oprah’s book club sticker. Feel your name bulging from the dust jacket, feel the perfect stitching in the binding, and the deckled edges of pages.
Flip the book over and see your flawless portrait filling out the back. You look so well read, charming, and confidant, nothing like a fraud at all. Crack the book open, see the inside flaps littered with endorsements from authors you’d wet yourself upon meeting.
Within this book’s pages are the most profound prose you could pry from your soul. It’s your personal philosophy laundered into a story. Your life experience is spread throughout its contents. Every least comma represents a broken shard of your heart. Your every skeleton is laid out between its lines.
Readers will think of their lives in terms of who they were before reading this novel and who they became afterward. They will carry it with them like a bible. They’ll quote it in arguments. They’ll page through it in moments of quiet desperation.
Hold this novel out in front of you like an offering to the Heavens. Now drop it and kick it like a football. Watch it go over the horizon. Accept that this false ideal will never happen. Continue reading When Perfectionism Goes Wrong