by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason
Perfectionism is a lofty goal. It’s not a bad goal, just not a very realistic one. That’s not to say we should have the attitude of: “Well, I’ll never get it perfect, so I should just give up.” Absolutely not. We should strive to do the best possible work that we can do, but not become discouraged because it falls short of perfect.
I remember taking gymnastics lessons and I would work for hours just to get the form right. We practiced in front of mirrors and I had to consciously think about how to hold my body, was my form right, were my movements smooth and graceful? And my instructor would correct, reposition—and encourage. But I never got it perfect.
And you know what I learned? Practice doesn’t make perfect.
Yep, I said it. LOL.
That’s the bad news. But, the good news is, practice does bring improvement and growth and skills we can implement. Every time we practice, we come closer to “perfection”.
The above words can be applied to anything in life, but for this purpose, let’s apply it to our writing. A lot of people think their writing has to be perfect before an agent or editor will be interested in signing or acquiring it. Guess what? It doesn’t.
That is not to say, it doesn’t have to be good, maybe even great, and that one doesn’t have to develop the skill to write in a way that capture their attention, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
I look at it like this.
Someone is always going to know more than I do about writing. Someone has already walked where I’m getting ready to step. If I’m willing to listen and to soak in that person’s wisdom and have the attitude of: I want to learn and grow as a writer, therefore, I’m going to be teachable and follow the leading of my instructor, then growth is going to happen, my skills are going to sharpen, and eventually, someone in the publishing industry is going to sit up and take notice.
That’s my experience anyway. I had mentors, I went to writing conferences, I learned from the best in the business—and eventually, people noticed.
I say all that to say this. Be like clay in the hands of a master.
Malachi 3:3 says: He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
Zechariah 13:9 says: “I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.”
A refiner uses a fire to heat metal to a molten state, then skims off the dreg that floats to the top. The dreg is worthless. It’s trash that needs to be discarded. But underneath is pure silver, a metal that can be made into something beautiful, something worth noticing, something valuable.
I think this is a wonderful way to look at writing. Let those who’ve gone before you be like the refiner. Be willing to immerse your words into the fire so that the dross can float to the top and be discarded leaving you with a piece of work that, while maybe not perfect, is beautiful, valuable and noticeable.
What do you think about this? Have you had someone in your writing career who has been your refiner? How did this person make a difference in your writing career or life?
Happy New Year!!
Lynette is also the award-winning, bestselling author of almost forty books. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have finaled or won awards in contests such as The Maggies, Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Carol, ECPA Book of the Year, and The Selah. She is also the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award winner in the Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense category and Overall Daphne Winner this year. Her most recent achievement is placing in the top 10 out of thousands of entries in the James Patterson co-writing competition. Lynette and her husband Jack live in upstate South Carolina with their two teenagers. Lynette can often be found online at www.facebook.com/lynette.eason , @lynetteeason (Twitter) , and www.lynetteeason.com.
Lynette Eason just released her first Indie novella called Lethal Homecoming. It’s a short read, but packed with suspense and romance. Feel free to check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/zs8dtcr
Six years ago, danger sent Callie Ainsworth running, and now all she wants is to go home to Tanner Hollow. She’s received word that the danger is over, so she is free to be reunited with her mother and sister. When someone tries to kill Callie before she even reaches the driveway, she realizes she’s made a horrible mistake and danger still lurks. But this time she’s not running away.
Nolan Tanner had loved Callie as a teenager and has never gotten over her sudden, unexplained departure. When he rescues her from a killer on her first night home, old feelings come rushing back. Still angry at her for leaving him six years ago, he soon realizes she had good reason for taking off–and that he’s still holding out hope for a future with her. Can he catch the person who wants her dead and convince her she needs to stay home for good?