Monday, March 29, 2010

RDM #18 – If it’s worth doing…

So here we are, on another fine Rainy Day Monday, and it is time to reach into the vaults for an old and undervalued post by a talented writer.
So I decided to use me today. :-)
On my other site, Seven’s Heaven, I have a series called Faith and Writing, where I examine the similarities between writing and being a Christian.  There are actually more than you might think.
Here’s an old post I did about perfection, and how it can be a bad thing.

Faith and Writing – If it’s worth doing…

I have heard it said that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  My response to that is… Nonsense.

If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing badly. 
Particularly writing.
If you spend too much time agonising over every word, and getting it just right, then you will never finish anything.  There is a story told of James Joyce that one day a friend arrived at his house and found him crying over a manuscript.  He asked him, “What’s wrong.” 
“I wrote seven words today.”  He replied.
“Seven words?  But that’s good for you James!”
“Yes,” he replied, “but I don’t know what order they go in.”
writing We often get what might be called Paralysis by Analysis.  Where we are so intimidated by choosing the right first word, that we can’t even get to the second one.  So decide to use the wrong one, and then take it from there. Ray Bradbury said “Your creativity know what it wants to say, don’t get in the way.”
This I believe is the way to go forward.  People accept less than perfection in other areas, why not writing?  If I tell people I paint in my spare time, they are all impressed, regardless of the result.  If I take them to my study, and show them my paint-by-number set, they smile and say, “At least he’s happy.”  I play the guitar.  Really badly.  And people are okay with that.  As long as I don’t try and play for them.  So why do I feel I have to be perfect as a writer?  Why can’t I make mistakes, and learn from them.
The same with our faith.  Why do I feel like I have to get it right every time?  I know God told me to be perfect, but seriously! That’s not going to happen overnight.  If I make a mistake, and slip backwards, I beat myself up, and think I not be a real Christian, because I can’t get it right.  So what do I do?  I stop trying.

I fall back into an old habit or sin today, so I don’t even try and avoid it tomorrow.
But the secret is to keep learning and moving forward. 
To see every split infinitive and sin as an opportunity to become better.
Not to wallow in self-pity over spilled vowels and impure thoughts, but to vow to do better, recognising that nothing comes without effort.
To recognise that if I try so hard to be perfect, I will set myself up for a fall.
To know that if I wait until God’s voice is audible, or my creativity dictates the perfect book, I will have a long wait, but in the meantime, to just do the best with what I think I hear, and let him guide me to hear better next time.
So get out there and do it, even if you do it badly.

So leave a comment, and if you are also doing a Rainy Day Monday post, leave a link.  I know one day it will catch on.


  1. Keep goin one day it will catch on...maybe I'll try to add it to mine amid all my other stuff :) I liked that post. Thanks for re-sharing it :)

  2. So, how does one go about Rainy Day Mondays? Do I ask permission to post someone's work and attribute it on my blog and leave a link in your comment box? Any guidelines, or is it completely subjective to what I like?

  3. Ok, so I just read your original post and I get the idea. I like it. You know MckLinky is free right? I'd rather just promote myself lol so here a little later I will put a post up on my meme blog from one of my other blogs and then I'll be back here to tell you where it is :D

  4. ummmm promote myself blog post wise ;) sorry, I didn't seem clear to myself

  5. My RDM post:

  6. Awesome.

    Kathy - I used McLinky for about 15 of my RDM posts, but since no one ever used it, I decided to put it on hold until people actually started taking part. Also it used to give me problems, and sometimes double or triple post itself.

    Helen - RDM is for any post that you think deserved more attention than it got. I started doing it to repost my early stuff from before I became famous. I also post older posts from other sites I follow, but I usually ask permission first. It is subjective, but I usually go for posts that received little or no attention the first time around, not the best ones.

  7. I like this:

    "...but in the meantime, to just do the best with what I think I hear, and let him guide me to hear better next time."

    I needed to read that today.....I've been in a little rut with a project that I am focusing WAY too much on getting it "perfect" that it is taking all of the joy/purpose out of it.

    Great message!

  8. Okay, in honour of our first official participant, I have resurrected the McLinky widget.

    And the official "rules" for RDM may be found by clicking here


Say Hoo Ha Ha!