On Self-Publishing and Perfectionism

Beyonce is a pretty polarizing topic online, and I myself go through phases of indifference, admiration, and disdain. But that’s not the topic of the blog post. Vulture, NY Mag’s pop culture blog, spoke with a life coach in the days leading up to Beyonce’s HBO documentary, Life is But a Dream, about Beyonce’s video-diaries focusing on her acute self-criticism and desire to be “perfect”. The interview is a little rambling, but this quote stood out for me:

You can have perfectionism, or you can have connections. You can either try to be perfect around people, or you can connect with people. You can’t have both. People don’t connect with perfect people.

As someone who struggles with perfectionism, this hit very close to the bone, and in the days after reading that quote I turned it over in my mind, parsing through how and where this struggle between perfectionism and the desire to connect with others impacted my life. This morning, I awoke with the thought that the act of choosing to self-publish is to shun perfectionism in order to connect with readers.

For most writers–or perhaps all writers–there are voices all around us and inside of us telling us we are simply Not Good Enough. A lot of it is arbitrary–“I’ve already read ten manuscripts with a smoke-breathing dragon and a boy wizard” or “No one wants to read a romance novel written in first person POV”. Some of it isn’t, such as when you’re a new author still testing your voice and storytelling ability. However, the existence of the author has but two truths: you write and others read. I’m not here to argue over concerns of quality with the ease of self-publishing, or the whole hoopla over the Gatekeepers of Publishing, because YMMV. All I recognize is that the act of writing is a desire to connect with others, and choosing to self-publish is to shake off those voices that shout “you aren’t good enough and never will be” in order to fulfill that desire for connection.

Author: Evangeline Holland

Evangeline is a public historian who brings her academic skills to fiction, in order to fill in the gaps in the historical record. Her love for history permeates just about everything she does, going so far as to "suffer" for this love--as the bruises and stuck fingers from fencing and sewing costumes to understand life in the past firsthand can attest.

1 thought on “On Self-Publishing and Perfectionism”

  1. Great post, Evangeline! I think about this a lot in regard to my own work and others’. I wrote a post about how people definite perfect novels a few years ago if you want to check it out: http://heidenkind.blogspot.com/2010/12/perfect-novel.html The Greeks actually had a set definition of what perfection was and didn’t allow anything “imperfect” to be performed or displayed in public! And people think the Big 6 publishers are bad. 😉

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