WWN7: The Fection of Perfiction

Why it just don't happen

Edition #7 of the new Write Way and already we’ve hit 4,000 subscribers.

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The more the merrier…

The Fection of Perfiction

Way back in the heady days of 2020-2021 I was busy at work.

Editing.

Polishing.

Rewriting.

Editing some more.

Polishing some more.

Rewriting again.

I did every single thing I could think of to make my first book completely perfect.

And then I published The King and the Dragon in 2022.

A month or two later, a friend pointed out that I’d misread something in the note to parents and misinterpreted a verse. I’d spent hundreds of hours on a five-hundred word manuscript and there were still mistakes.

The fiction of perfection is that perfection is possible.

And yet…

I regret nothing.

Finding the balance of perfectionism and possibility has been one of the hardest parts of the creative career.

Out with Perfectable

Perfection is not possible because the perfect work is a published work.

After all, there’s nothing “perfect” about a book that nobody can read because it’s still sitting on your harddrive being “edited”.

But anyone who chases perfection knows, you’ll never be happy enough to publish it if that’s your standard.

I’ve seen many artistic types who could be great fall into this trap. They’ll publish an essay once every few months. Or a book every ten years. Or never at all…

Because they’re chasing that one big hit. That glorious dragon of perfection.

They’re too sensitive to take the criticism and feedback that comes from publishing and iterating and improving and trying again.

So in the long run, they fail.

Because they don’t love their reader enough to trust them with the work they’ve created.

They’re ultimately in it for themselves.

In with Polishable

Here is where the guru types and the content creatooooors go wrong though. They realise perfection is impossible so they stop caring.

They churn out crap.

They optimise for all the wrong things.

And they never try and get better.

This post is imperfect, but I’m trying something new. Last week’s post was imperfect, but it said something true. My products are imperfect, but I make them for you.

(Aw look, it rhymes.)

But really, that’s what matters.

Are you trying new things? Are you saying true things? Are you loving the reader that spends their time on your content, whatever it be, or are you trying to grab a quick buck off them and move on?

Are you growing?

Are you approaching every piece with the craftsman mindset that wants to make it one bit better than the last?

Are you taking the time to make that one piece of content into the best you can reasonably make it?

Do you respect your reader’s time?

I’m going to have a lot more to say on the practical outworking of this, specific strategies and tactics etc. in an expensive paid product on editing that’s in the pipeline.

As always, Carran’s Cabin will get first dibs and steep discounts.

Shake It All About with Publishable

There is no such thing as good enough.

And yet there is.

There is a world of difference between the content creatooooor who says “meh, good enough, send it” and the craftsman who says “Ah, it’s the best I can do right now. Send it. Let’s try for even better next time.”

Your goal is to get each piece to “this is polished enough to be publishable”.

It’s never going to be perfect, stop trying.

But don’t stop trying. Try again. Try better.

Look…

The truth is that the problem with your email is not that clunky sentence in paragraph three that you spent the last ten minutes thinking about.

The problem is that your opening hook is dull.

The problem with your novel is not the bit of dialogue in chapter eight that had you in knots for a week.

The problem is that your villain sucks.

The problem with your tweet is not that you failed to use the best possible template.

It’s that you never had anything interesting to say.

The problem is rarely what you think it is.

It goes much deeper.

And the best way to fix it is to publish it, take the full force of feedback, and immediately start working on the next thing.

Love your reader by delivering the best possible piece.

And pay attention to both parts of that sentence.

Delivering.

Best Possible.

No artsy procrasti-hating, or content creatooooor hackery.

Do it well, but get it done.

Coda

If you struggle with this, I have two ways to help you.

One is my course How to Write Bad, which helps you overcome perfection and write without worry. It’s $33, to save you clicking through to find out.

The second? Well, that’s not out yet. But later this month I’m going to be running a huge (and very fun) promotional event where I launch five brand new offers in five days…

…all in beta form and all with ludicrously huge discounts…

…and one of which is geared to helping you fix the problems in your writing and make it buttery-smooth and error-free.

But the event is only open to subscribers in good standing to Carran’s Cabin, my free daily list.

You can join that by buying How to Write Bad, or by signing up here.

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