Friday, September 11, 2009

Down with Perfection!

*No Photoshop Friday today. My humor well is all dried up. But don't worry, I'll have something by next week.

Today I wanted to make an announcement on my blog, partly because I'm excited about it, partly because I will need you all to keep me accountable.

I hereby decree that in the next thirty days (September 10th-October 10th,) I will write one short story every week.


There. It's in print. No turning back now . . . You might be wondering, why? You also might be thinking, isn't she in the midst of editing a novel? To answer the second question, yes, and I have no intention of stopping that. No worries. It won't get as much attention, but cest la vie. I feel like this is really important.

Basically, I have been thinking a lot, A LOT in the past month or two about my various weighty issues related to writing--my writing, and writing in general. It's been something of a voyage of self discovery, as has been apparent on this blog. I've read books on writing, read great works of literature, read popular works of fiction, read my own works with a critical eye, and done a whole lot of pondering. (I'm actually very good at pondering. It's one of my greatest talents.)

I'll spare you the extended development of my thoughts, and say that in the end, I decided that I put too much emphasis on perfection. I wanted to have the perfect idea, the perfect execution of that idea, the perfect prose to carry out that execution, the perfect characters to speak that prose, and the list goes on and on, piling stone upon stone on my poor, poor chest until I felt like I was being pressed to death by my own ambitions.

So I am forcing myself to shun perfection. In having to write a short story every week, I already know that they won't be perfect, but who cares?! I will be working on my craft and producing, and I think that will make me a better writer more than endless hours of pondering.

I'm very excited about this, in fact I already started one yesterday. I had no more than the inkling of an idea and I forced myself to just start writing. It was exhilarating. So I want you guys to keep me accountable. No perfection allowed.

Down with perfection!

*Also, on a related topic, I wanted to mention that my friend Michelle and her crew over at The Literary Lab are having a short story contest. You can get details here. I know I'm entering!!

15 comments:

Lady Glamis said...

*bounces up and down!!!*

What a fantastic idea!!! I plan on diving into some shorts as soon as I write that last sentence on Monarch. I'm so excited.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Becca said...

Ren.....I am fur about "no photo shop Friday"....I look forward to it each week...you ditched me :)

As for the short story plan...brill....I will look forward it :)

candicekennington said...

What a great idea! I'll repeat the rallying cry, DOWN WITH PERFECTION! I need that as my own personal mantra as well. Maybe I should just make a goal of writing 2,000 words a day for the next few weeks so that I force myself to make progress even when what I've written is far from perfect.

I'm excited to see what you write. (I'm hoping you'll let me read at least some of it *crosses fingers*)

Renee Collins said...

Michelle-Thanks! I will keep you all posted for sure. In fact, I might put a project updater in the sidebar, just to make sure I have to keep up. :)

Becca-Soo-rry about your loss, Becca. ;) Seriously though, it's not easy to pump out brilliantly hilarious posts every single week. (I kid, I kid. Well, about the brilliantly hilarious part. Really, it's hard to be remotely amusing every week.)

Candice-We should just make September Down with Perfection month!

And hey, I've been crossing my fingers that you wanted to read some. You're that awesome. :)

Kiersten White said...

YAY! I think this is a brilliant idea. Just get your wonderful brain moving : )

Also, I love that one of your greatest talents is pondering...have you entered many talent shows? Because I really would pay to see you sit on a stool in the middle of a stage and look thoughtful.

candicekennington said...

Down With Perfection!! Sorry, I just had to say it again. :)

Oh, and Kiersten's comment made me laugh.

Natalie said...

I will so keep you accountable. I expect to see one of these shorts next week. If not, I will yell at you.

The idea of perfection can be very debilitating. I've been struggling with it myself lately. My next book? Totally for fun—I'm determined to think it'll never be published. Too much pressure.

Patti said...

Down with Perfection seems like the perfect theme for the month. I'm with Candice and try to write 2000 imperfect words a day.

Jessie Oliveros said...

You are being pressed to death by your own ambitions? I can relate. Good luck with you writing goals. Since I held myself blog-accountable, I've felt more pressure to produce, even if it is not perfect. Actually, it's pretty ugly in parts. Here's to ugliness.

storyqueen said...

I think this is a great idea. 4 stories in 4 weeks. I bet you have a blast.

Shelley

Miriam S.Forster said...

Down with perfection!!! I don't know about you, but I learned more writing something new than I did in years of rewriting the same book.

(I was looking for perfection too...)

Good luck! (You should totally post them here so we can rejoice in the imperfection.)

Tara said...

Good luck on moving out of your comfort zone.

Renee Collins said...

Kiersten-Many people would. And I promise you, they would not be disappointed.

Natalie-Seriously, sounds like a great idea. That's basically how I'm approaching these stories.

Patti-You totally should! Lets have this be a month of extreme productivity. :)

Jessie-Well, you'll find I can be a bit melodramamtic at times (just read some of my work ;)

Shelly-It's fun so far! :)

Miriam-So very true! I've noticed the same thing, and that's definitely why I am doing this.

Tara-Thanks! :)

Kasie West said...

Wahoo, down with perfection! Too bad I never tried for perfection to begin with or maybe some of my stories would be better. :) And I'm all for the talent show idea too. I have a stool.

Diana said...

I try to banish perfection, but it's just too hard...I guess I'm perfect:) he he J/K!
I love the new idea and will fully expect four short stories in my email box.