Writing isn’t easy. As soon as you pick up your keyboard (so to speak), the demons come slamming down. “How dare you?” “What’s the point?” “It won’t be perfect!” “Why bother?”
Why bother writing? Well, the thing is that perfection is not the goal.
Perfection is the enemy.
(2) Perfection is incremental. Much though it feels like it, the words you write are not carved into your flesh. No good piece of writing ever came out onto the page fully-formed. Words can be honed and polished time after time if that’s what you want. There’s no limit. After two rewrites, the Revision Police are not going to kick down the door and shoot your monitor. Give yourself permission to be rough around the edges.
(3) Perfection is meaningless. Even internally, the definition of what might be perfect varies moment to moment. The idea of anything being perfect to more than one person (or for longer than an instant) is just self-delusion. It’s the voice of authority telling the little child that they have to be ‘good’, as if that had some sort of objective definition.
I know these things are fairly obvious, intellectually. But it can take a bit of effort to make yourself believe it. Say it with me: “There is no perfect. There is no perfect.”
I’ve been writing books for twenty years. The answer to “Why bother?” is that writing is fun. Dreaming up people, places, worlds, histories, situations, relationships… that’s great fun. Wrestling with words to get sentences that do what you need and sound half-good too. Watching situations play out. Being surprised by characters who don’t do what you expect. Getting the gunk out of your head and onto the page. It’s all glorious.
Is it going to make you a gazillionaire? Almost certainly not. Is it going to make your life feel magical? Oh hells, yes.
So really, please, try not to worry about perfect. Every word makes you a better writer, and there’s no text that can’t be improved by a good editing. Every piece will have an audience of some sort — even the worst possible shades of crap. Maybe it won’t earn you money. But what it will do is make your soul sing.