Destructive perfectionism: the struggle is real


"Why don't you let us see and make suggestions? And don't stress over that, that only will help to strengthen that block, believe me I would know! The more you look at it, the more you'll hate it." - Karla Gonzalez Lutteroth, B&W critic and wise woman

This update comes late because I, the perpetual perfectionist, have spent 26 hours this week editing/finessing/wordsmithing/destroying Chapter One. I wrote, re-wrote, erased, replaced, and then just gave up! Damn it. Seven days past deadline, but I have finally submitted it for the brutal critique that surely awaits this critical chapter. So, why so neurotic?

Two reasons. One... I am Type-A. Two... I do believe the first chapter makes or breaks a novel. From the first word to the last, every detail is of absolute importance. The character's mind and words, actions, etc., as well as setting, smells, noises, feelings, thoughts and emotions must be captivating and progressive. For B&W, this is even more true because Jason Keller is a complicated character in a complicated situation.

Chapter One: Reprieves introduces a wounded warrior living in solitude, propelled by inherent idealism to seek something more than his current state while still struggling with his past. Jason's battles with Post Traumatic Stress and his distrust of women are explored within the first few paragraphs, his internal and external trials adjusting to the civilian world are prevalent throughout the narrative. His strained relationship with his family, and desire to control every facet of his life are also established. These are complex themes to embody and my pursuit of creative perfection eventually drowned my productivity.

This is why Karla's advice above was right: sometimes there is strength in not pursuing perfection, in not staring at that chapter until you hate it. Maybe the revision/editing process is less about creative precision and more about learning when to let go. 

PS... the Black and White Facebook page reached 1,000 "likes" this week. That delights everyone involved in this project. As always, thank you all for your support.