My short bio: An advertising agency copywriter by day and a writer of fiction novels by night, Allan enjoys telling a good story. Growing up reading thrillers, science fiction and horror novels, he’ll always have a place on his bookshelf for John Sandford, Stephen King and Orson Scott Card. Living in White Bear Lake Minnesota with his blended family and three unruly dogs, Allan is also a youth soccer coach.
I’ve always believed as a writer, you need to write. How else are you going to get the words out, and get the story told? How else are you going to get better? I’ve seen many a would-be novelist writing the same chapter over and over as they strove to make it perfect before moving on. The saying is that perfection is the enemy of the good. But writing is not about getting it perfect. It’s about getting it down on paper or typed into the manuscript, and then editing and rewriting from there.
To best illustrate this concept, I found this story. See if it makes sense to you.
A pottery teacher split her class into two halves.
To the first half she said, “You will spend the semester studying pottery, planning, designing, and creating your perfect pot. At the end of the semester, there will be a competition to see whose pot is the best”.
To the other half she said, “You will spend your semester making lots of pots. Your grade will be based on the number of completed pots you finish. At the end of the semester, you’ll also have the opportunity to enter your best pot into a competition.”
The first half of the class threw themselves into their research, planning, and design. Then they set about creating their one, perfect pot for the competition.
The second half of the class immediately grabbed fistfulls of clay and started churning out pots. They made big ones, small ones, simple ones, and intricate ones. Their muscles ached for weeks as they gained the strength needed to throw so many pots.
At the end of class, both halves were invited to enter their most perfect pot into the competition. Once the votes were counted, all of the best pots came from the students that were tasked with quantity. The practice they gained made them significantly better potters than the planners on a quest for a single, perfect pot.
In life, the best way to learn a skill, is to make a lot of pots.