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the writer as a perfectionist

I find it funny (in both the ironic and ha-ha sense) that the dominant stereotype of a writer is someone who’s scattered and too creative for their own good as they lounge around cafes pondering the nature of life. And okay, I do know a couple of writers like that, but for the most part we’re a ruthlessly practical bunch. We almost all have full-time jobs to support ourselves and our families, writing only when we can find the spare time. And the ones who don’t, are certainly looking to take care of business, often working two part-time jobs with an internship on the side.

I bring this up because, for the third year in a row, I just entered Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest and yet again was unhappy with my entry. The thing is, I’ll never be happy with anything I write because it can always be better. I wake up in the middle of the night going, “God damn it! I forgot about…!” and feel like banging my head against the wall.

And it’s not that I don’t think my writing’s good, because I do. It’s just, it can be better. That’s the reason I have an editor and read books on writing and continue doing writing exercises whenever I can.

In this particular case, I think I’m suffering from pretty serious novel-fatigue, since I’ve gone through this damn thing six times (not counting the first 2 drafts since that’s writing, not editing) and twice (three times?) after getting it back from my editor. As much as I love my boys, I’m officially sick of werewolves, their families, and their secret lives. The final word count on this one stands at 100,897 so I think I’m allowed. Well, I say ‘final,’ but chances are I’ll be re-editing the thing again when I either get rejected or go on to the next level of the contest.

Because a writer is nothing, if not a perfectionist.


About Nancy M. Griffis

Author and screenwriter who loves scifi/action/adventure/urban fantasy genres. I have two published novels, Mind Games and Eternal Investigations, as well as a short story published for charity called "Home Fires Burning." All are available through amazon.com and barnesandnobles.com.


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Nancy at the Tim Burton exhibit in L.A.

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