When All You Want is to Inspire

I think it's safe to say that most every writer wants to write something inspiring, meaningful, impactful, and all that stuff. We dream of people calling us up or sending us an email after reading our (#1 NYT bestselling, might I add) books and hearing things like "Your book changed my life."

There's just one. small. problem. 

We're trying to dream this dream while we're writing our first drafts or while we're in the midst of nightmarish edits.

And yeah. It's just not working how we thought. 

Something has to change. 





In short, we're letting ourselves get stuck- for the sole reason that we want it to be perfect.

We're telling ourselves that our book is going to be some sort of stunning, intricate narrative perfectly interlaced with great themes. 

And when we're in the midst of the messy work- drafting and editing- we're letting ourselves get discouraged. We're setting our expectations higher than we should, and when our fantastic, perfect ideas aren't working out exactly how we thought, we're losing our motivation. 

When our plot is falling into pieces, and our prose is flatter than pancakes, and our characters are the most inconsistent beings to ever walk the world of fiction, we're beating ourselves up. 

Because good gracious, we've got to get this right.

It's not doing us any good. Instead, it's making us think that we're some sort of failure. Sure- we've got those couple of good snippets that we can share on Twitter and get compliments on, but in the end, we're not really proud of our work.

We're constantly in a state of comparison, wishing we could write like that one author while simultaneously telling ourselves we never can. 

I've got news for you: Your book will never be perfect. No matter how many drafts, no matter how many hours spent editing. It's never gonna be there. 

At first glance, it may sound like bad news. "What?? I can't make my book perfect???"

But it's not bad news. It's good news. It frees us from the cycle of trying to reach perfection, and more importantly, it tells us that it's okay to not be perfect. Because perfectionism will steal your joy- and it will tell you that you'll never, ever be enough. 

Stop trying to reach an unattainable standard and start finding the joy in just writing. In creating. In doing what God's called you to do, and doing it to the best of your ability, even when it's not perfect. 

Your ideas won't come out exactly how you want them to. And that's okay. It's easy to think there's something wrong with us when things don't go how we planned, and that we have to drop everything so we can fix them.

But nope. There's nothing wrong- in fact, it's (dare I use this word) perfectly normal. 

So what happened to these ideas? You wrote them down. You wrote them down, and they weren't perfect. 

And that's okay. Because they never will be. Even if you think they're downright awful, you can fix them later. Let them sit for a while, then come back. You'll probably find that- while they're definitely not perfect- they're not as bad as you thought. 

We all have that one person. That one person who is- in our eyes- basically perfect. The person who has a perfectly aesthetic Pinterest board for their novel. The person who constantly posts stunningly written snippets of their novel DURING NANO. (the logic here is truly flawed) 

(And yes, I just referenced Pinterest- LOL NO I DO NOT HAVE ONE JSYK.) 

It's easy to get caught up in how good they are- and there's nothing wrong with that, at all. Except. 

It's even easier to get caught up in comparing ourselves and our writing to them.

Don't fall into that trap. Just don't do it. Choose to praise God for what He's done with you and your writing, even if your skill level doesn't even approach someone else's. 



You can inspire and influence people with your writing- even if it's not 'perfect.' 


~ Jonathan 

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43 comments:

  1. This is on spot, and sooooo true! Thanks for this!

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  2. Wow. I think God must be trying to tell me something, because I keep running into the theme of "perfectionism" this month.

    Thank you for this post, because I really needed it!

    (oh, yeah, I totally believe you about Pinterest... XD)

    audrey caylin

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    1. Hehehe God does that sometimes, lol. :D

      No problem! Glad you enjoyed!

      (ikr I'm like not the pinterest type... at all. xP)

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  3. This is fantastic. Exactly what I needed to read. HOW DO YOU DO THIS? You really MUST be a ninja; knowing when to post these super fantastic inspiring posts. ;)
    Thanks!

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    1. I USED MY MIND-READING SKILLS. Jk, jk. Maybe. *insert ninja face here* xD

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  4. *sighs bc this topic is so true* I think this is something I used to struggle with a lot more - thankfully God has been helping me work through it a lot. It's just that thing were you have to learn the you are you, and no them - almost accept yourself in that way.

    perfectionism is a hard point for me - yeah, you have that dream of how the book is gonna be so amazing but when you look back on that first draft it's just...a mess. It's not perfect, but it's not a hopeless wreck either. It doesn't rly matter bc, we wrote our own books - I love my novel, even with all it's flaws bc it's mine.

    anyyywayyss. I rambled - this was a super inspiring post btw ;)

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    1. *sighs also bc I agree* xD YES SAME. I don't deal with it nearly as much as I used to, God's definitely done some stuff there.

      EXACTLY. And even more so lately because I got my printed book (!!!! more in the monthly wrap up k) and I'm reading through it and it's just like 'UUUGGGH.' XP

      it's okay I approve of rambling. *thumbs up* thanks :D

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  5. YESS! :D This is what Yahweh has shown me the past few months! And after He showed me this.... 'the truth shall make you free' is definitely true! And that is the truth- we cannot reach perfection. Nothing we make or do will be perfect. So, we shouldn't be striving for perfection. Our eyes should be on the Lord- if He's given it to us to do, we do it the best we can! :D
    -Angela | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

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    1. Haha, exactly! I definitely agree with you there. :D

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  6. This is so spot on!!! It's sooooo important. Thank you for this!

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  7. Fabulous, especially about the comparing thing! It's suuuper hard to be able to love your work, and thankfully I love my current project!

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    1. Thanks! Yeess comparison is such an easy trap to fall into. That's great though!

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  8. Thank you /so much/ for that post Jon. IT WAS AMAZING. *shares it on all four corners of the universe (and maybe even pinterest)*
    I WANT TO PRINT OUT THIS POST AND HANG IT ON MY WALL. YES. (actually I legit might do this with some of it)

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    1. Thank you /so much/ for this comment because it's basically the best thing of ever. xD (HEY COOL THIS MAKES ME FAMOUS THEN :P)
      LOL well okay I won't judge. xP

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  9. Lemme guess. You're editing.

    But really tho, solid advice! Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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  10. uhg. actually yes.

    *relates to this a little too much*

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    1. right? same. I basically wrote it at myself lol

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  11. Wow, I'm working on a first draft right now and getting bogged down and discouraged. I really needed to read this. Thank you so much for such a well-written, inspiring post!

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    1. I CAN RELATE. XD You can do this though!! Glad the post was helpful! :D

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  12. I applaud you, sir, for this brilliant piece of wisdom. We edit our novels to make them better, not perfect. And that's something we need to remember, lest we forget the reason we're writing to begin with. Our world is an imperfect place full of imperfect people. Why should our stories be any different?

    Great post!

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    1. Why thank you then. *swooping bow* xD EXACTLY. We try and set unrealistic standards for ourselves and that's what we fail to realize. *nods*

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  13. Wow, do I ever identify with this post!! I needed to hear this, so thank you. :) It helps!

    Perfectionism has definitely been a huge block in my writing (and just about everything else), and one of my goals in writing my novel has been to conquer those tendencies...but you can guess that it doesn't happen so easily! ;) So yep, thanks for this post!

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    1. Haha, glad I'm not the only one. :D

      SAME. NaNo was super helpful for me with perfectionism and stuff. *nods* Mostly word sprints haha.

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  14. Thank you for this post, Jonathan! I NEEDED it. Beautifully written, God bless!

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    1. Glad it helped you out! :D Thanks so much!

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  15. Thank you for spewing some tried and true encouragement. Perfectionism especially in the first draft kills. It's much better I've found to just write the darn thing and ignore the hopeless mess it becomes. :P

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    1. Yes I totally agree *nods* SAME OMW. Which typically works super well, but now I'm on draft 2 and it's like eeeeek xP

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  16. This was well written- and well timed. Thank you.

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  17. Wow, this really hit home. It is wonderful to be reminded that nothing we write is going to be absolutely perfect, because we're not perfect. I love the fact that each of us has a different writing style and genres in which we're really good at writing, because God's going to use us to reach different people. Isn't that just amazing to think about? :)

    Do you mind if I ask what inspired you to write this post?

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    1. Haha fabulous- I love it when posts do that to me. :D Yeesss I agree 100%, that's totally right! I was actually writing an article a little bit like that the other day, hehe.

      Sure! But I don't honestly remember? XD I've been working on it on and off for like two months, lol.

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  18. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. Seriously, it was super inspiring (which was probably your intent so SCORE xD). I get SO caught up comparing my writing to other people's and wondering when mine will ever be 'perfect' but YEAH I NEED TO STOP because sometimes it's the more "imperfect" stories that effect me the most ;).

    Thanks for sharing this, Jonathon!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. YOU'RE WELCOME. XD Haha yaaaay glad you liked it! SAME OMW that's something I definitely need to work on, sheesh.

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  19. "When our plot is falling into pieces, and our prose is flatter than pancakes, and our characters are the most inconsistent beings to ever walk the world of fiction..." >> basically my life right there. XD

    And "Because perfectionism will steal your joy- and it will tell you that you'll never, ever be enough." *raises hand* This is me. In my writing and in every part of my life. I've been called a perfectionist, an overachiever, and while that can be good, it isn't always. I end up expecting too much of myself and then I just feel down when I don't live up to my own expectations.

    *nods* So yes. This was for me. Great post!! ;D

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    1. Saaame for me right now. xD At least for The Raven Project haha.

      Haha yes I have also. *nods* I'm not nearly as much of a perfectionist any more than when I used to be? But even when I was writing this post I was trying to make it perfect and I was like 'UHG NO.' XD

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  20. Definitely! I think that's part of the reason I've been putting off drafting and focusing on plotting half a dozen novels - I don't want to get started and realize how awful it sounds.

    Great reminder!

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    1. SO RELATABLE. xD That's me for editing, haha- I've been putting off The Raven Project since like... July.

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  21. Awesome post, Jonathan! This is so true. I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to writing myself, but gradually I've come to learn that I just need to keep writing whether it comes out looking perfect or not. This was a great reminder of that. Thanks!

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