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3 Ways Perfection Can Hurt Your Writing | Writer’s Relief


Of course, you want your short story, poetry, essay, or novel manuscript to be in the best shape possible before you make submissions. Typos should be banished, grammar checked, edits made, and the correct formatting used. But the submission strategists at Writer’s Relief have a few words of caution: Constantly striving for perfection might actually hinder your ability to finish your work or get published. Watch out for the 3 ways perfection can hurt your writing.

How Perfection Can Hurt Your Writing

Nothing Gets Finished. Maybe you’re thinking you need another scene or stanza, or a completely different theme. Or perhaps the ending should be a cliffhanger…or simply tie up loose ends. And don’t forget about the plot twist (or not). Should you plan everything out, or wing it? From determining literary elements to choosing a title, if you’re insisting on perfection, you may find yourself unable to make any decisions—and your WIPs (works in progress) will never be completed.

Never-Ending Revisions. If you do finish a rough draft, the next step is to revise and proofread. But after reviewing your work a few times—put the red pen down! Revising too much can dilute your voice and tone, effectively removing what makes your writing unique. We know you don’t want to submit something before it’s in tip-top shape, and that’s great! But if you never stop rewriting, you’ll never send out submissions or get published. After a round (or two or three) of edits, it’s time to stop revising and start submitting!

It’s Impossible To Submit Regularly. Maybe you’re worried you need to edit more thoroughly, or you’re not sure what literary journals are right for your submission. Whatever the reason, you’re not sending your work out regularly. Your insistence on perfection has paralyzed you. But sending out submissions on a regular schedule is essential to getting acceptances. Don’t let indecision deadlock your efforts to get published. You’ve put in the time and effort to create and refine your latest work. It’s time to get it into the hands of literary agents and editors!

How To Overcome Perfectionism And Still Get Published

The best way to overcome the roadblock of perfectionism is to set—and keep—realistic deadlines. If you don’t trust yourself to stay on a predetermined schedule, Writer’s Relief can help! Our clients submit every two months and have deadlines and reminders to help them move forward and stay on track. We also format and proofread the work of our full-service clients, so you won’t get stuck on a revision treadmill. And our expert research team will pinpoint the very best markets for your work to boost your odds of getting an acceptance—you won’t get lost down the time-consuming rabbit hole of trying to determine where to send your submissions.

To learn more about our services, submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!


Question: How has attempting perfection interfered with your writing process?

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