It’s something I’ve run into again and again during my life. I am obsessed with quality. If it won’t reach a certain quality then it’s not worth doing. Well, that’s what it boils down to at the end of all of it. It’s not something I actively think. Logically I know that not everything has to be perfect, and that most things can’t even be perfect anyway. Then why do I keep trying to make things perfect? I don’t know. That’s the simple and short answer. The long answer is a bit more complicated.
I love writing, it is one of my favorite things to do. Even though that is the case, the current story I’m writing has been in development for arguably over a decade. And yes, my current draft is looking decent and I’m happy with a lot of the stuff I’ve written, but I also know there is a voice in the back of my head that will eventually convince me that it is not good enough and I should start over. Being critical like this is not inherently bad. If you’re too easy on yourself you’ll never improve. But I have been steadily improving over the past two decades of writing stories, yet it feels like my goals are still ever out of reach. My goals are quite straightforward. I want to write a book, then I want to write more books in the same series, and at some point I’d love to branch off into other writing endeavors. Really not that much all things considered. I’ve long given up my visions of grandeur, writing the bestselling series of all time, that everyone will love. That’s not going to happen, and that is okay. I just want to write things that make me happy, and if it makes some other people happy along the journey then that is all I could ever ask for. But then why is my work not progressing, why does it feel like my goals are still just as far away as they always were?
I’d like to blame my mental health, which is not unfair, but also not completely fair. I struggle with tiredness, anxiety and all of that fun stuff, but that is not something that will go away. At what point does an explanation turn into an excuse. “I can’t be perfect because of my mental health issues, so I will never be perfect.” followed by “if I can’t get the quality I want, then I should just start over until I get the quality I want.”
This puts me in that ever continuing spiral of rewriting my drafts repeatedly without ever getting to a conclusion. This is a big part of the reason why I started this website to begin with. I want to set deadlines for myself that I want to hit, so that regardless of the quality of my writing, I will feel inclined to put it out there as a finished product.
Then why do I have drafts sitting in my google drive that are basically ready, yet I haven’t posted anything in weeks. I also haven’t been able to get progress on a short story for this month, meaning that I probably won’t have one by the time December comes around. So apologies about that, to those looking forward. I am probably skipping a month and writing my next one for January 1st.
I want to ask if anyone else has this problem of wanting to perfect something to the point of never finishing it, and what you all do to combat this, if anything. Either way, thanks for reading.
Ps. ironically enough, I wrote this one in one go without any editing…
One thought on “I am obsessed with quality.”
Sometimes you have to make a pup to progress. You do need to take things in hand and publish things even if they are unfinished or not as polished as you would like. Even the great Tolkien changed things mid series and rewrote and contradicted himself as he thought of new things or a better way to write his stories. In summary PUBLISH and see what happens tell that little voice NO. Even if you make a pup who are we to judge we have not even tried to produce anything. Oh and remember don’t take anything personal they are trying to help.