Friday, May 6, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Anne Harris

photo by David Reed

EXCERPT from "Perfect Disaster: Don't Let Perfectionism Squash Your Creativity" by Anne Harris in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:

Perfectionism destroys productivity, and what's worse, it robs you of the joy of creating. After all, no one and nothing is perfect. Holding your work to that standard will only set you up for failure. Writing used to be an agonizing process for me. I dreaded it. I avoided it for days and weeks and when I finally did sit down and write, I'd type that first sentence, and then I'd rework it until it was just the way I wanted it. I would not move on the second sentence until the first sentence was perfect and the same for paragraphs and chapters. Needless to say, when I got midway through the book and needed to change something I'd written at the beginning, it was tantamount to amputating a body part. The whole process was slow, difficult work, rife with self-criticism and second-guessing. It wasn't much fun. Frankly, it's a miracle I ever finished anything.

Anne Harris writes science fiction, fantasy and, as Pearl North, young adult sf. Her novels include Accidental Creatures, which won the Spectrum Award for glbt sf, Inventing Memory, a Book Sense Pick, and Libyrinth. Her short story, "Still Life with Boobs," was a 2005 Nebula Award finalist. She also mentors grad students in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction program. Visit Anne and Pearl at

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