The Failure of Perfection

April 9, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 3 Comments

He who does not expect perfection is not disappointed when he does not find it…” Charles H. Spurgeon

Lifted from Bill Britton: Wisdom from the Margins

So, I’ll go public with it right now: I am in the early stages of writing a book. The sad thing is, I have been in the “early stages” of writing this book for a few months, and I have made little progress.

Birth Pangs

In the beginning I was very clear on the subject and the message I wanted to express. I had a title, sub-title, and even potential chapter headings. It was never intended to be a long book, 125 pages or so. I planned to use notes from a journal I have been writing for a couple years, so I have ample grist.

And yet… I am no closer to begin writing today than I was three months ago. In fact, I am further from that goal today than I was three months ago. What gives?

Thinking Too Much

After identifying essential processes and even purchasing a new kind of writing software that I thought would advance the project, I found that I was beginning to lose energy to even proceed with it. “Waste of time,” I began to whisper to my creative muse.

Truthfully, however, I continue to feel it is a worthy project. But I was at a loss as to how to proceed… until early this afternoon.

Today I spoke with two women who offered insights: It seems that over the course of months I have allowed myself to envision unreasonably lofty goals for the project—so lofty that the chances of achieving these goals are highly unlikely.

When Creativity is Unreasonable

I think I am experiencing the battle of the reasonable mind and the creative mind. In a blog I wrote a few weeks ago, I quoted song writer and phenomenal producer Nick Cave who implied that the “what” of a creative project has little to do with the creative process. The result will be what it may. In fact, he said that the result may be “none of my business.” My business is to create.

It is true. When the creative begins to be overly concerned with the reception of the work of art, the creative process takes a hit. It’s not a popularity contest. It is a work of the heart and the soul. It comes from the deepest core and therefore must care only of the process of the work.

Is it “You?”

For me, it needs only to be good, true, and worthy of provoking thought. It needs not be perfect in any aspect. Spurgeon said it well, “Don’t expect perfection and you will not be disappointed… especially when the work comes from the heart.

I think this is true of all our work, creative or productive. When it comes from the truest inner core, it is the expression of the truest self and what else can we ask for?

It’s the Work You “Do” That Matters

So… “Do” and Let the Result Be What It May

Photo courtesy of sqback at istockphoto

3 thoughts on “The Failure of Perfection”

  1. I love this! When a creative starts worrying about tge reception of the audience or book sales and $$$ it’s a drain on the whole process. I have written 10 books! Sone have it and are in multiple k gusted others not… the point is it does not matter. My wonderful husband just encourages me to write and not worry anything else. It I’d wonderfully freeing!! Right now I’m In My art brain painting watercolors of SoCal landscapes…just create. Great program!! donna friess

  2. Ineed a push in the form of an idea !!!!! I want to write as a memoir to my daughter who died suddenly on October 8,2019 my first born and my all after God. I seem to grieve daily going into this third which gets no better Ihave memories yet cannot seem to start ????any suggestions ?????

    1. Dear Dee. Writing a book can be a daunting task. But it is so very rewarding. My fiend Terry Hershey always reminds me that the best way to start writing is… “just write.” And when you are dissatisfied, write some more. Try free form and write songs from your heart. I like free form writing: no script just putting words on paper or on your computer. Perhaps think of it as an extended journal. Then after a dozen or so pages, evaluate and see where it is leading. Perhaps the “book project” will become the writing process. Hope this is just a bit helpful. Charlie

      BTW: I am starting a book myself. I thought I was clear on my path until I started thinking about it too much. I came upon an idea for content just this morning. I feel inspired. And that is after several thousand words. So I am left with one thing… just write!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe