Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

My 8-year-old is the consummate perfectionist--with all the intensity and anxiety that comes along with it. She struggles with making the first effort at anything perfect, even though I constantly try to explain that NOONE gets it right the first time.

She's been making paper cranes lately. And the most recent ones are coming out well. Countless have ended up ripped to shreds, recycled, lost at the bottom of the bin.

As writers, it's often frustrating that words don't just flow onto the page. I'm a writer, right? The words should just be there. Perfect. The. First. Time.

Um, no.

Five years after I started it, I'm finally feeling like maybe my novel is close to being publishable. Of course, I didn't start is as a novel, so I'm hoping my next effort doesn't take quite so long. But when I think of all the words that ended up on the cutting room floor, I cringe. Thank goodness I didn't give up.

Don't give up. Keep practicing. Eventually, it gets easier. And the cranes start looking like cranes.


Andrea Mack said...

Thanks for the encouragement! As I discover more and more things I need to change during the revision process, sometimes I feel like giving up! But I won't. It's too important to me.

Laura Pauling said...

That's pretty cool that your daughter can do that. She did a great job! Thank God our first words aren't seen by too many people!

Heather Kelly said...

PLEASE let this get better with practice!! When I stop and think of how long I've been writing, and I'm not even up to querying stage yet, it just bums me out. So I don't think of it. But I think the learning curve can be huge, you know, for the first 5-10 years. SMOG (sweet mother of god) that's a long time. :)

Kristine Asselin said...

Thanks Andrea and Heather.

I think if I'd known how long the learning curve was going to be, I might have given up! But along the way there are enough milestones and forks in the road to keep you going. I never thought my first books would be nonfiction--but there you go!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

My daughter likes to do origami, too! It must be a smart kid thing ;)

I agree, you can't get it perfect the first time around no matter how hard you try. The good news is that the second novel is a lot easier. The third? Even easier, at least the mechanics of it. You learn more about who you are as a writer and what your process is. The bad news is that the self-doubts never seem to go away :P

Also, I think you did the right thing by taking time on your first novel. So often, those first novels never get pubbed because people try to query them too soon, and after a ton of rejection, they end up shelving them. It's better to work hard on it for as long as it takes. I think you're giving it the best chance possible.

Alicia Gregoire said...

Great post. Sometimes it's nice to hear the reminder from someone other than Hubby or Mom.

Kristine Asselin said...

It's as much to remind me as to remind all of you. :) And it must be a smart kid thing--the child is definitely greater than the sum of her parts. She must have spent 12 hours folding those cranes this weekend. #CanYouSayObsessiveCompulsive

Jamie Burch said...

Thank you for this post, Kristine!