June 06, 2023

Dear Perfectionist Writer


Dear Perfectionist Writer,

In my post “Dear Stuck Writer,” I discussed how people could say you’re blocked because you’re not willing to embrace imperfect art and how that statement is not accurate for all artists. But now I want to discuss actually seeking perfection.

Aiming for perfection in the first draft (even your final draft) can cause exhaustion and lead to burnout. It can cause your muse to cross their arms and run away. 

It is okay to write a sentence that’s two words long. Sometimes I write a sentence that’s a single word long.

It is okay to write a sentence that is subpar.

It is okay to write a wordy sentence.

It is okay to write a boring paragraph.

It is okay to write a paragraph that is two sentences long, or one sentence long.

It is okay to write a lengthy paragraph.

It is okay to write a short chapter.

It is okay to write a long chapter.

It is okay to write lackluster dialogue.

It is okay to use adjectives.

It is okay to use adverbs.

It is okay to tell.

Why is all of that okay?

Because perfection is not (and should not) be the goal when we’re writing the first draft of a story. Our goal right now is to write the book. Each draft or round of revisions/edits after that will make it better and better. 

With that said, remember that perfection is an impossible goal to have at any time, even for your final draft before publication. A few typos can sneak by, even after a book is professionally edited and has gone through several rounds. Not all readers will praise your book and love it as you do. There will always be critics.

That is okay, too. It’s normal. It’s expected.

Do the best you can, put out the best work you can, and be proud of it!

QUESTION: Are you a perfectionist when it comes to writing?


  1. Hi Fey, loved the post, have not been around for a while due to lack of confidence in life. You wrote much sense and all of it so very true.
    Hope your'e ok and well.

  2. Making it perfect is an excuse to not do it sometimes. I find that when I'm dealing with middle schoolers, they will hem and haw and not do any work because they want that first draft of the assignment to be "perfect". Sometimes we just need to start it and not overthink.

  3. Good to see you back posting. No one has ever said I was a perfectionist. I have had some on various staffs I lead and enjoyed having them around to check behind me, but I'm more of a pragmatists.

  4. I am not sure what's going on with my postings (above) as it didn't put my name. It's Jeff, https://www.fromarockyhillside.com

  5. I aim for perfection, but understand there's a limit. So I attempt to do my best. I think anyone that reads my work deserves it, so I don't do it for me. I do it for anyone that thinks I'm worth reading. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  6. I think trying to perfect it, slows the writing down and can even halt it. So, it's always good to remember these points! Thank you.

  7. If I were I perfectionist, I'd be so disappointed in myself. :) There's always another way to word something, but sometimes you like it the way it is.