Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The Demon of Perfection

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 11:07 am

I have wanted to do this for a long time. Its first incarnation was The Quotes of the Week page for the website that we have run since 1994. I wrote a weekly installment that included links and quotes and a column from me. I thought it would be so easy to write one column a week. I found out, very quickly, that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I would sit for hours just thinking about what I could write that had some connection with quotations. Sometimes I would procrastinate and then hurriedly finish a piece. “It’s not very good, but I only had an hour to do it.” I would tell myself.

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything. Eugene Delacroix (1798 – 1863)

I was too blind to recognize The Demon of Perfection looming in the back of my mind. It has been five years since I wrote my last Quotes of the Week page. Because I never allowed myself to have an “off” week, I became so frustrated with the project that I stopped writing completely. Ok, that’s a lie. I don’t think that I have ever stopped writing completely. I’m always working on something literary, even if it’s just my personal journal. A true writer never stops writing, even if she’s just formulating stories in her head.

But that wasn’t enough for me. Writing stories and hiding them in the drawer feels wrong every time I do it. In fact, writing fiction feels wrong. Something about me wants to write the truth. Deep inside, I feel like I need to concentrate on non-fiction. Whether that means telling the story of my life or giving you a lecture on perfection is not the issue. The issue is that I need to tell the truth.

Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault. Dr. David M. Burns

So here I am. Some entries will be imperfect. Some entries will have no quotations. Some entries might be all picture and color and very little description. Some entries may be brilliant and touch you. I have no idea which are which and it doesn’t really matter because I’m here for me. I need to write. I need to write every day to be a healthy person. I need to tell you the truth as I see it. I can no longer write my own personal truths and hide them in a file on my computer. I need to know that others can see this, even if they don’t like it. Even if my entries are flawed, they need to be seen.

I don’t confuse greatness with perfection. To be great anyhow is?the higher achievement. Lois McMaster Bujold, “Mirror Dance”, 1994



  1. “A true writer never stops writing, even if shes just formulating stories in her head.” That will go in my quotation collection, as I’ve found it to be very true. Sometimes I have gone months without putting words to paper (except for the grocery list), but keep myself awake at night writing in my head. Sometimes I got smart and got up and wrote it down, a lot of times, not. One time that I did get up and write it down, I wound up getting it published as an article in Fine Gardening. That made me feel justified in thinking of myself as a writer, even though I haven’t been published since. At least, not until I discovered weblogs, as you have. With a weblog, you don’t have to wait until your “truth” or your fiction is marketable. When you’re ready to publish, you publish.

    Comment by Kathy Purdy — 10/20/2003 @ 5:54 am

  2. I came across youy webblog today, and like it at once. “A true writer never stops writing, even if she’s just formulating stories in her head.” I Like this sentence, which I guess is created by you. Like a flash sparkles over my head, I get out a direction on which I should go steadily.

    Comment by True Fire — 5/7/2005 @ 1:28 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur