Play, Not Perfection

Whenever possible, I write with friends. It keeps me focused on writing and sharing the work makes it more fun. Also we help each other brainstorm.

Yesterday and the day before I had trouble concentrating through a headache and backache. No matter what I did I couldn’t focus hard enough to work on an edda. I couldn’t even finish my chapters for Peak Love, my time travel romance. But inexplicably I was able to work on a silly new project that I am calling “Tea in Space,” which may end up being my next SF novel. Or it may not. I’m just amusing myself with it.

I encountered the same problem with art. I want to work on the medallions for the Thule collection, but I can’t concentrate well enough to use Illustrator. However, I was able to experiment with challenging problems I face in Daz 3D: how to deal with fog and how to light dark complexions.

I showed my friend my latest attempt in Daz 3D (which you can see below) and she said she thought it was pretty good.


I said, “It’s just a practice piece, so it doesn’t need to be good. It just needs to be.”

That’s when the penny dropped for me. I’d made the eddas, Peak Love, and the medallions too important. I’d placed too much weight on them and now they were painful to work with.

Dean talks about this as a writing problem:

Telling stories is fun, right up to the moment that you make a story or novel important. That’s like taking a pin to a ballon. All the fun of writing just vanishes almost instantly in a pop.

Dean Wesley Smith

I need to look at my eddas and chapters as practice, just as I look at everything else. They need to be less important so that I can experiment and enjoy them again. Admittedly this is difficult when there is a deadline for the Thule collection, but I need to get over it and just write and edit.

Similarly, I suspect that the problem with Peak Love is that I know that my romance group will probably read the chapters. They liked chapter one. I feel compelled to make the rest of the chapters good too. I had a taste of that sweet, sweet praise and I want more.

But this is irrational. The point of the group is not critique, but accountability. I just need to produce. That’s good enough. I need to play.

I hope you will join me in messing around with words and images, not taking anything too seriously, just having fun.

Play well, friends!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I struggle with this too. I get all worked up on how good something needs to be and psyche myself out in doing it LoL

  2. Reblogged this on Kaptain Viciorious Grimoire and commented:
    My friend Carolyn always has great insights to impart. here is one:

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