Too much of a perfectionist….
3 Am and I’m still sat here….
…tweaking Coping Ugly while my eye swells up thanks to some unknown allergic reaction. I’ve begrudgingly accepted that I won’t be able to submit the perfect draft of Coping Ugly. It won’t be stageable. There’s at least another 10 drafts, a character death and a possible style change to come before it’s perfect.
I spoke to Stapes briefly today and he asked if I’d started pulling my hair out yet or would I just throw caution to the wind and submit the play early. As I’m sure those who know me can predict, I answered with a resounding no to the latter. Stapes knew full well that I’d already been pulling my hair out. In fact, Rhianne had to deal with my sudden loss of faith at 5 AM a couple of weeks back. It seems I’m very predictable in my writing habits.
But am I at risk of becoming one of those writers who lets the drive for perfectionism get in the way of ever moving forward? I didn’t think so. Until I talked to Stapes that is. I’ve had agents on my mind all year and today, Stapes questioned why I was holding off sending work out. Our conversation went something like this:
M: I don’t have anything good enough.
S: You’ve got your major project.
M: But it needs redrafting. It’s no where near ready.
S: Send it Monday.
M: But it’s not ready. It needs to be redrafted. For Writersroom and Papatango.
S: Then you won’t send it.
Because I’m a perfectionist.
It’s not like I didn’t already know this. I just hadn’t realised that it was stopping me from sending out work that multiple people had already told me has promise. I did it with my novel. The novel I’ve only just started rereading having given up on editing it a year ago. I loved the characters but by the time I finished writing and got up the courage to start editing, I couldn’t see the merit in the hours I’d put into it. All I could see were problems. Not potential.
That’s all I’ve seen in Coping Ugly since I started writing. Every time I hand off a draft for feedback, I already know the problems. I know the problems as I’m writing it. Yet even armed with that knowledge, I still don’t have a perfect draft. Or a draft that I feel proud of. Doesn’t sound right, does it?
With essentially one day to the deadline, I’m still considering throwing out my entire last act and rewriting somehow. I’m aware of problems but I feel helpless to fix them and it’s terrifying. Because no matter how much I claim that I chose to do this course for the experience and the mentorship, not the for the piece of paper, some part of me clearly still wants to achieve a degree that fits with the image that has been formed around me in the last year.
Here’s hoping I can pull it off. I’m too much of a perfectionist for my own good sometimes.