Letting Go of Writer’s Perfection

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
– Ernest Hemingway

Quotes and personal experience are my inspirational dream team for Rubber Ducky Copywriter. So when I came across this quote from Papa Hemmingway, a writer who can be (and often is) considered a master, my bells went off.

I was inspired to offer advice on how to accept your writing in all of its glory. To love the good, the bad and the improperly punctuated.

It may have a lede only a mother could love, but it’s your baby.

But unlike most of my posts, this one refused to come out and play. Instead, it stubbornly sat on the back burner for a few weeks—arms crossed, frowny face, the works. There was no budging or bribing it.

Finally, I figured out why.

I have zero experience accepting my own writing as it is, so I have zero advice to offer you about it.

And, I was struggling with the even concept of not being able to achieve perfection. Sure, I’ve thrown my hands up and shouted “no more!” I’ve also hit dead-end ideas and turned projects in only because my deadlines told me to, not because I thought they couldn’t be improved.

But deep down, I never considered that mastery was out of reach. Some day, one day…it could happen if I work hard enough or if my muse is feeling charitable.

And if Papa Hemmingway didn’t consider himself a master, what chance does a puny mortal like me have?

What’s the end goal supposed to be if not mastery?

Insert light bulb moment here.

We may never achieve writerly mastery, but it should always be in our writer’s nature to try.

It doesn’t matter if we’re copywriters, fictions writers, poets, magazine writers, bloggers, home diary keepers, journalists or any other kind of writer. We need to appreciate what we create while breaking out of our comfort zones and striving to get better with each flawed attempt at impossible perfection.

In an attempt to take my own advice, I wrote a short poem. Here’s my imperfection for the world to see…

Beware the Werebunny
A fluffy little bunny hops down a path so dark.
Out comes the moon, now you’re bunny’s prey.
A leap, a landing, a short scream in the park.
Your life released, your prayer a bray.
The fluffy little bunny hops down a path so dark.

Here’s where I admit that I was never a great poet to start with and that I haven’t written a single verse in 15 years. But apparently this little piece was rolling around in my head, waiting for me to write it. And I like it.

We accept the calling of being a writer. And while we’ll never be perfect writers: our only realistic challenge is to enjoy the journey. And hopefully pay our bills along the way.

Do you think mastery can be achieved? Or, do you find its impossibility liberating?