Something my anxiety is always trying to convince me of is that I’m not good enough.
It’s a feeling I end up having to fight a lot on any given day—especially when it comes to my writing.
Author X Audience is here for you to read because I embrace one rule about my writing constantly: finished is better than perfect.
That might sound like an excuse to be lazy, but what it really is is permission to write sloppy first drafts. I’m a good enough writer now that I can spot a problem with a manuscript from a mile away—but it’s a lot harder to edit and fix something that hasn’t been set down in ink yet (or in this case, typed out in a sans serif font).
This rule is also what helped me to share Author X Audience with you when I did. I could spend forever critiquing this manuscript. I wrote it in two months in 2014, rewrote it over most of 2015, and then went through the editorial throes of letting other people read it and turning their feedback into useful edits. Copyediting and proofreading followed, and at each stage, it was easy to want to throw the whole thing away and just start over, for various reasons: I’d grown as a writer, I had more complex thoughts on the issues I tackled in the manuscript than I had originally, it was clear there was more research I could do on the animation industry to make it even more accurate (I broke a lot of rules in the beginning to let Alexis see things Terry would have been so, so fired for).
Thing is, I was working on other new projects while I was editing Author X Audience. Since finishing my first revision of Author X Audience, I’ve written four other novel manuscripts, the complete script for a webcomic that has yet to debut, and countless short stories and fanfiction. And it’s impossible to complete a novel in an amount of time where I would ever be completely satisfied with every turn of phrase. Author X Audience isn’t perfect, but it is cohesive, and it always made me smile and feel things while I was reading it. Plus, my beta readers and copyeditor seemed to feel the same way about it. Even though Author x Audience isn’t perfect, it’s good enough. Letting it be that way is what allows me to let it go and move on to working on other projects.
That’s something I’m trying to remember in my daily life a lot right now too. I’m really social, and being away from my friends and my coworkers right now is hard. It’s destroyed my schedule (which helps keep my anxiety in check) and my sense of security (which also helps keep my anxiety in check), which means I’m a drained extrovert suddenly coping with exponential amounts of anxiety alone at home.
Not every day is a good day, but I’ve been managing. I’m nowhere near as productive as I was a month ago, but that’s okay too. The world we’re living in now isn’t quite the same as the world we were living in before, and measuring myself against those standards doesn’t help anyone—it just helps my anxiety break me down. But, bit by bit, I’ve allowed my new existence to be enough. I’m functioning. I’m working from home. I’m sleeping a lot more. I’m exercising when my body starts to hate me too much to be comfy sitting on the couch anymore. I’m eating a lot of comfort food. And I’m letting that be “good enough.”
I hope that however you’re coping right now, you allow it to be enough, and aren’t too hard on yourself for not being perfect. It really is an unattainable concept that gets in the way of all the good things we could have right now—even if that good thing is just a bowl of popcorn and some Netflix to help take your mind off things and relax. We all deserve peace in this trying time. Stay safe, stay healthy, don’t cross picket lines. Thank you for reading. Hope to see you again.