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Chasing Imperfection: Confessions of a Fantasy Author

You know that question asked in interviews: 'What's your greatest weakness?' Many of us reply, 'I'm too much of a perfectionist,' believing it showcases dedication and skill. However, I recently stumbled upon a compelling argument against this. It suggests embracing imperfection and recognising when our work is 'good enough,' rather than endlessly pursuing an unattainable standard of perfection. As a fantasy author, this hit too close to home. Here’s why.


When you go into a bookstore, especially as an author, it can be quite anxiety inducing. All those books, finished, bound, in their final form. They look wonderful. They’ve been drafted, revised countless times, edited, fully designed.


As a fantasy author sitting at home, it’s easy to compare yourself to those final books. To feel subpar. To think you have to keep working to some unrealistic standard and get there on your own.


To make it perfect.


I can speak from experience though that my desire to chase perfection just slows me down. Overwhelms me. Invites worse imposter syndrome.


How can we ever get it perfect.


Instead, we need to chase imperfection. Get it as good as you can get it. Work on something as much as you can. But also learn when to say ‘that’s enough’.


Then share your work.


I wonder how many people here know how long it took me to get book 1: Origin Curse out?


How many people here know I have not one, not two, but THREE children’s picture books hanging in the works, so nearly ready to release but so … stopped?


My previous desire to chase perfection on them is holding them back, and it frustrates me.


But how can I learn how to let go?


One has been holding on for so long that now I look back at the story and the images, I want to start over.




Why do we do this to ourselves?


People enjoyed the story when they read it. So why am I pausing that final step?


The release?


Chasing imperfection wastes time. People could be enjoying your work. Instead, you hold on.


Do I need to fix that 99%, or could I have let it go already?


My work doesn’t need to be perfect. Nor does yours. We’re on an every-growing journey that lasts for life.


Our earlier work can be explorative. Growing. We’re always developing. Never staying the same but growing.


And our readers will join us on that growth journey. They’ll see your work change over time.


And that’s part of the beauty.


I know all this, and in my heart I still find it hard to let go. To release the work that is less than perfect. I wonder what it will take for me to show it.


Life shouldn’t be about chasing perfection. It should be about knowing when to be imperfect. To not waste that time fixing those tiny little details. To embrace where you are at this time. ‘This is my best now, and my best will keep growing.’


Otherwise, you could just work on something forever and never be happy, never share your work.


I want to be a fantasy author for the rest of my life. Share so many stories.


But I’m holding myself back.


I have so many ideas in my head that I get frustrated I can’t work on, because I spend too much time chasing perfection. Not allowing myself the room to be at peace with where I am now and let go.


So don’t be like me and hold yourself back.


Let’s work on it together. I’ll make a promise now to work more on knowing when to be imperfect. Being kinder to myself, less strict. To chase imperfection and share the fantasy worlds and people I dream of so you can read them.


Promise me you’ll chase imperfection and share your work too.


Even if we have to close our eyes to hit the publish button.


I’m sure our readers will forgive us. They’re here for the journey. The growth. We just need to forgive ourselves.

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