“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” – Richard Wright
Perfectionism is something to strive for, but when does perfectionism become an obsession – a fear of your work never being good enough, always thinking you can do better.
During the process of a final edit on one of the first articles that I was having published, I had to ask myself, when would ‘enough be enough’.
At the time, I found the question difficult to answer. Now, I know it is different for everyone and different for each piece of work.
Back then, I realized that a more appropriate question to ask myself was, am I stalling because of my fear of failure, or is my work truly unfinished, needing more editing?
Saying, I’m finished, meant there was no more reason to hold back, nothing from stopping me to submit my work and perhaps face a rejection. At some point, I needed to take the next step, but I never thought that that step would be so difficult.
I remember the day that I finally said, “This is it! Today, I’m going to submit it.” I literally had to force myself to go through each step. And once I had it submitted, I fretted the entire time, waiting to hear back from the magazine editor if it was good enough.
Everything turned out fine. He loved the article, and two months later, I saw my article in print on the shelves.
With each publication, the feeling became more clear as to when I was satisfied enough with my work to submit it. I still question every piece I write as to whether it is good enough.
Just recently, I finished my first novel for publication. The experience was more intimidating, but I know that there comes a point where I need to move on and be satisfied with my work – I need to take that step of courage.