Sunday, January 15, 2012

When Even Perfection is Not Good Enough

A majority of Americans have lives filled with magazines, newspapers, television shows and other media that constantly shout at our inability to be perfect enough not to need or want their advice. But if we follow the advice of these thousands of voices telling us that we are imperfect and must be fixed, we have no time to create, nor the energy to fight back against this onslaught.

That is why I urge everyone who picks up a pen or pencil, grabs a laptop or a keyboard, or has enough courage to sit or lie still on the grass in the backyard or a park, to shut out the noise around you that doesn't feed your inner writer. If we listen to these voices, we will never learn what makes us unique and never write another word due to the fear of our words never being good enough.

In other words, we must be the only ones who choose what form perfection takes in our writings.

Granted, you can get inspiration from the few books that don't offer a prescription, such as "Becoming a Writer," by Dorothea Brande. Aside from her encouragement to write regularly, she attempted in 1934 to get around all the other academic credos on writing to the person who writes because she or he must. But, first, we must write to push all doubts aside that writing is what we do to live, not what we do to make a living.

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