Writing Tips for the Perfectionist

Posted on November 14, 2013


ImageFor most authors, the greatest writing obstacle they will ever encounter is themselves. We all have different unique struggles, but a common issue among all writers is perfectionism. After all, if art allows you to constantly improve, how can you know when your writing is finally good enough? And what artist wants to settle for “good enough?” Your book is important to you, and you want it to be the best. Of course, this means that finishing your book can be a huge challenge when you constantly feel the urge to edit and revise. Here are some tips for overcoming your desire for perfection while still creating excellent work.

1.      Prioritize

Simply put, you have to decide what is most important. If you want to share your book with the world, then you will eventually have to stop working on it and let it go. You have to trust that readers will enjoy it even though it isn’t perfect. If you’re obsessed with perfection, you’re going to lose sight of your ultimate goal—to share your work.

2.      Obtain feedback from other perfectionists

As you write your piece, ask for honest feedback from those you trust to be nitpicky—maybe even as nitpicky as you are about content. Remember that these readers are coming to your book with fresh eyes, so they should be able to discover errors that you would have missed. Trust their judgment to be a reflection of the opinions a broad audience would form about your work.

3.      Create an editing plan

If you strategize how you will edit your work, then it will be easier to stick to your plan and avoid becoming trapped in an endless series of edits. Decide how many drafts you will write and how much time you will devote to them, then give yourself a strict deadline.

4.      Trust your editor

The surest way to create a great work is to spend the money and effort on finding a good editor. A good editor will approach your work with a fresh yet experienced perspective that neither you nor your beta readers will have. Once you are confident that you have hired a skilled one, trust him. After all, he is a professional and it is his job to help you make your book the best it can possibly be.

5.      Be proud of what you are doing well

Being a perfectionist means that you are focusing too much on your flaws and not enough on your strengths. Try changing your perspective and concentrating on one of your strengths, whether it’s an ability to drive home important facts to your readers, craft excellent sentences, or create a riveting plot.

6.      Remember that it’s impossible to please everyone

If the root of your perfectionism is the desire to make all of your readers happy, then you need to realize that this is an unrealistic goal. You have to decide what standards make you and most of your readers satisfied, and accept that others may not feel the same way. Perfectionism, after all, is subjective. Write in a way that pleases you, and you will find others who will appreciate your work as well.

Whatever your reasons for struggling with perfectionism, use these tips to keep it under control. It can be positive, to an extent, because it helps motivate you to create great work. But once it becomes overwhelming, learn to rein it in before your perfectionism controls you and prevents you from completing and sharing your book.

Rachel Schade, Writer, Editor, Publishing Coordinator


Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

Posted in: Publishing