Happy Tuesday! This week, I thought I’d do something different: a pep talk. A weird one, at that, but hopefully one that helps some of my fellow writerly people.
There’s nothing worse than those days when you look at your writing and think, Why did I bother? This is terrible! And then you look at talented people like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. People who’ve made a living–and more–from their writing. Or maybe you just read one poem and think, Why can’t I do that? It’s perfect.
Well, here’s the thing. It isn’t perfect. Harry Potter isn’t perfect, and neither is any one of Stephen King’s novels, or whatever beautiful poem you’re thinking of. It’s not.
(These are writer owls. They are shocked and excited by this revelation.)
The truth is, if you look far enough, you’ll find that literally every piece of beloved literature was shredded by someone. I’ve read articles that ripped Harry Potter to pieces. Doug Walker, the ‘Nostalgia Critic’, makes fun of Stephen King so much it’s become a running joke in his webseries. Nothing that anyone has ever written appealed to every person who read it.
So what’s the point? The point is, everything is flawed. And that doesn’t matter.
Because, much as every piece of literature has avid haters, it also has adoring fans. I’ve always found it oddly comforting to know that Harry Potter isn’t perfect, even if I can’t help thinking it is every time I pick up Prisoner of Azkaban. Because if Harry Potter isn’t perfect, I don’t have to be. Neither do you. Neither does anyone.
Be good. Write the best you possibly can. But, as Salvadore Dali said, ‘Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it.’
And that’s just fine.