Monday, April 13, 2015

Errors are What Create Perfection

None of us is perfect. We hear this all the time and of course it's true. I make mistakes on a regular basis. Some of them are small, like adding orange juice instead of milk to my coffee. Some of them very public, like writing a blog post that was rightly misinterpreted. Some of them are simple to fix like turning my shirt right side out, some of them not so simple like applying the wrong paint to my walls.

In the end though, imperfections are what make the world perfect. If we were all perfect life would be boring and we would be boring and, frankly, I don't think anyone expects us to be perfect, anyone but us of course.

The same goes for your book and your submission. Every submission I've ever read and every book I've ever read has errors. There are typos, printers errors, grammar mistakes or even the occasional page that was put in upside down. It happens. Shit happens. Let it go.

When you're submitting your work, or once your work has gone through all the various editing rounds at a publisher, it's time to let it go. You've gone through it with a fine-tooth comb. Your beta readers, critique group, editors and agents have all gone through it. And you know what? There are still going to be mistakes. It's only the rare reader who will call those mistakes out. You know, the one who thinks she's perfect. Don't worry about her.

Embrace your faults and move on to write a better book. Because, shit happens.



Elissa M said...

Thank you for this. Some people don't realize that perfectionism is not a virtue. Yes, one should always strive for one's best. But if you strive for perfection, you'll not only never succeed, you'll never move forward.

Victoria Hamilton said...

Sometimes 'mistakes' create opportunities. I've always liked the phrase 'happy accident'.

Sally MacKenzie said...

Heh heh. I'm in page proofs for the September book. Last chance to make it "perfect," so I'm in the throws of this. Hunting typos and dropped words while second guessing myself and wondering if any of the darn thing makes sense. Fun times :)

Anonymous said...

My grandfather used to say that shit was the best kind of fertiliser. So when shit happens, growth happens ;)

Kate Douglas said...

I used to totally freak out over typos in my books, and I still hate to see them, but I was able to put them into a more realistic perspective when I recently reread a treasured first edition copy of FRECKLES, by Gene Stratton-Porter, a book I've read dozens of times. And there, toward the end of the book is an obvious error, one I had never noticed before. In a classic. I actually thought it was pretty cool.

Emily Keeler said...

Thanks for this!

AJ Blythe said...

To err is human. Maybe those readers have forgotten that?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

This is nice to know, and rather comforting, that not all agents are like my mother when I was a teenager. She expected perfection but got an every-day daughter who was pudgy and had zits. Eventually she became my greatest advocate.
Sometimes perfection is perfectly average. Average breeds greatness you know, that's what spell-check is for.

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DLM said...

2Ns, hee about your mom. :)

Ms. Faust, I believe you got spammed again, the comment just above mine.

And this post deserved better! Thank you once again for your encouragement. You always make me wish I wrote in one of your genres.