"Done is better than perfect" is one of my mantras. It's so easy to fall into the fiddle trap, where you tweak and tweak and adjust and try to get every little part of your project perfect because you're afraid of people judging you. Your name's on the line. Your reputation is at stake. But here's the thing: nothing you ever do will be perfect. It's better to accept it and just get over it. You're not perfect, and neither are the perfect-seeming authors on social media who always post cute pics of themselves writing in coffee shops. We're all just people doing our best. And let's face it—most of them are probably spending more time on Instagram than actually typing. If you're working on your writing project and you are stuck on a perfectionism kick, realize that means you may never see your book in print. Trying to make it perfect means second-guessing yourself forever.
It means no feelings of accomplishment when you hold your book in your hands.
No book sales.
No raving fans.
You especially don't need to worry about handing over a "perfect" manuscript to your editor. I would never expect that. Depending on the stage and level of editing, I understand that big story elements could even still be in flux. I expect that. And even when you turn it over for proofreading, there will still be spelling errors, grammar errors, and punctuation errors. That's why proofreading exists. I mean, if y'all were perfect, I would be out of a job. 😉
And I'm also going to tell you a secret about me and every other book editor on the planet: we're not perfect either. When we work together, nowhere do I promise you a perfect, error-free manuscript—because that's simply impossible. When you have seventy thousand words and thousands upon thousands of punctuation marks, it is inevitable that some errors will sneak through. This is the same whether you edit your book through me or through an editor with one of the Big Five publishers. My job is to do the best I can and catch as many errors as I can. And I have lots of happy clients who say I do a dang good job at that.
One of the reasons I think we are so driven toward thoughts of perfectionism is because we worry how others will judge us. "Oh, she's been working on the same manuscript for three years? How sad."
Only, most people don't think that way. In fact, we think other people think about us waaay more than they do because they're actually caught up in their own lives. They're doing their own thing and writing their own books. You don't need to worry about them.
So remember: done is better than perfect. Just get it out there. You got this.
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Don't forget about our resources library, and if you're looking for an online writing community where there's no judgment, only encouragement and education, then join Dot and Dash's private writing group on Facebook.