Vindictive by Ryan Lawrence, psychological thriller

A Difficult Lesson For A Writer To Learn

Vindictive by Ryan Lawrence, psychological thriller
Put down the pen! Step away from the computer!

AS AN author, one of the most challenging parts of the writing process is knowing when to stop. What does that mean exactly? Well, when you write your story, you have to understand that there comes a time when the rewrites and the editing process have to reach a final stage of acceptance that the story is complete. While I do not wish to speak for anyone but myself, I think it is safe to say that it is a common thing many writers have to feel like they could do more, write more, edit further, and tighten or tweak that last bit of storyline to make it perfect.

But what is perfection? How do we make something perfect? Is that even attainable? I spent months upon months reviewing my novel, rewriting and editing back and forth to ensure my sentences were tight, my storylines made sense, and my timeline flowed seamlessly. Of course, the more I returned to my story, the more “opportunities” I saw to adjust and make it perfect. It became a rabbit hole I fell into, and I could not see a way out. I had blinded myself to any potential path out of this trap of perfectionism.

Like all my novels, I had Vindictive, my first book, professionally edited and then Beta tested; even still, I could not trust anyone but myself to tell me when it was ready for publication. The thought that I had only one chance to make a first impression crippled me. What if someone thought my novel wasn’t well-written, thoughtful, exciting or—?! And there is that rabbit hole of self-doubt and perfectionism I was stuck in.

Eventually, my husband had had enough of seeing me on this hamster wheel and intervened. He asked me several poignant questions. Did I write this book for my own sense of creative fulfillment? Did I write this novel because I had a story to tell? Did I write this story for myself and hope it would resonate with like-minded people? Did I do everything I could to make it literarily professional and accessible? Did I understand that it’s okay if not everyone likes it, gets it or appreciates it? Art is subjective, and you won’t please everyone, anyway.

Even a spider, spinning its intricately designed web, knows when to stop.

Talking with my husband about my goals helped me clear my head and realize that perfection only exists in the worldview of people who want everyone to like them and, by extension, everything they produce. I soon realized that what I had written was something I had read a hundred times and still enjoyed, was still proud of, and that was enough.

Perfectionism is a trap and an unrealistic expectation for human beings who are naturally imperfect creatures. But it is in the attempt to understand that imperfection that makes writers the creative artists they are. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way to see the truth, and having someone you trust to help you see the path clearer is a gift one should never take for granted.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *