Imperfection, or, I Built a Bookshelf

By: Aryanne Ferguson

I’ve spent the last few days ruing the fact that I have to work for a living, because if I didn’t I could be home with said gorgeous bookshelf and all the books I haven’t read yet. I only wish I took this attitude towards my writing! When writing was new and fresh, I did. Am I the only one that’s looking to get a little of the magic back?

Yeah… I’m not this advanced. (Source:

I’m a beginner woodworker so the bookshelf is far from perfect, but I love its flaws: the wood knots and the imperfect staining job and the corner on which I’m destined to give myself a splinter sooner or later. I even like the flaws inherent in the wood I picked to make the bookshelf – a little bowing here, a crack I probably created there. And yet when I create a story I can’t accept its flaws as readily: my writing has to be perfectly perfect perfection. Help! I can’t be the only person who’s so harsh on their own writing. So I looked it up:

Scott Lynch said, “I think it’s fairly common for writers to be conflicted with two simultaneous yet contradictory delusions –that burning certainty that we’re unique geniuses, and the fear that we’re witless frauds who are speeding toward epic failure.

Vroom vroom (Source:

Reader, I can’t deny that I haven’t felt what Scott Lynch said above, but thankfully most of the time it’s not so serious. I did a little more Googling and came up with some inspiration:

According to Ernest Hemingway, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

And from Ann Rice: “To write something you have to risk making a fool of yourself.

My conclusion? I need to stop thinking and start doing! Do you have any inspiring words of your own?

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