Peggy Bechko’s World: Giving Up Perfection – the Writer’s Task

imperfection

by Peggy Bechko

Are you a writer of any type?  Do you strive for perfection?  Are you slowing yourself down beyond belief?

Yep, well consider this. Sometimes there is just the need for speed.  If you watch a bike race like we saw in the Olympics you’ll see it’s not the perfect, cautious rider who wins, it’s the reckless idiot willing to throw it all to the wind and push it to the limit.

True?

Yes, we saw that young rider wipe out on a curve, but that rider was in the game. And if there hadn’t been that wipe out, if the ride had continued on beyond the point of control what would have happened?  Thrown off course? Yes. But on a track not taken before, perhaps faster. Maybe better.

Are you in the game?

Perfect will never get you fast and in the end, when applying this to writing, it’s fast that counts for the first draft. Get it out there like word vomit on paper. Really, just toss it out there. Get yourself on a roll and let those written words loose – 1,000 words, 2,000, maybe 5,000 or more in a day. Don’t trip up your hot streak. Don’t risk tossing aside a ‘wow’ moment when you, as writer, look back over the day’s work and find you’ve gone way beyond your usual abilities.

Yes, you’re going to have to edit whether you’re an author who waits until the end to go through the whole script in one go or another kind of writer who edits what was done the day before prior to continuing. You’re just (most of you) are going to have to do some clean up. Or someone is going to have to do it for you and believe me it won’t be an editor or a producer.

BUT – Don’t let the magic of that full throttle day disappear. Don’t chance killing the spark that ignited. Your writing begs for you to be reckless. Perfect slows you down. My advice is don’t go for perfect…especially when in the midst of a creative storm.

The other side is the obvious. I’m sure you’ve all heard various complaints about books with typos, misspellings and all sorts of grammar mistakes that throw the reader off and end up causing them to put the book aside. Same can happen with any other writing.  What if you’re a technical writer and hand in a paper filled with errors.

I’m not saying the driven writer shouldn’t be bothered with such, we have to be. We even have to read galleys with a professional eye to catch the errors the editors at major houses miss. However you accomplish it, do it.

But when it comes to your story, don’t go for perfection, go for the speed and power that make your words sing. You never know what new demon might emerge out of the mist.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. This article originally appeared in Peggy’s blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide. A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television. Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC. Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys.