Where Are the Flaws?

I took a science fiction writing workshop last week. It was great fun and I realize I remain a work in progress when it comes to my fiction. Yes, I’m a work in progress on just about everything, but for my fiction, I am in the midst of the change model where my performance varies like crazy.

One thing the instructor said was:

You can take anything and find flaws in it.

I work hard to make my non-fiction readable. And yes, I have found typos, misspellings, and confusing words in my books, never mind my blog posts. I expect flaws in my blog posts. I have higher expectations for my books.

What matters is what how you feel about and what you do and when you do it about the flaws.

For how you feel about the flaws, I find the perfection rule transformation particularly helpful. When I think I can do a perfect job, I remind myself there are times I might be able to do a perfect job, and those times are under certain circumstances. See What Are Your Rules for Getting It All Done?

I can help myself with my thinking by asking myself about perfection rules. What about the doing and when?

In this workshop, I learned about my “typical” flaws for now. Understanding the places I make mistakes allows me to create a checklist of things I can look for when I am ready to look for those flaws.

There are times to look for flaws and times to not look for them. When I’m in the middle of writing and want to create a great story, I don’t look for flaws. I look for flaws at the end of a chunk. Even when I teach writing, I teach people to edit at the end of a reasonable chunk. Too often, people look for flaws prematurely.

When I edit in the middle of my writing, I interrupt the flow of my thoughts. In non-fiction, I confuse myself. In my fiction, because I’m learning, I lose the thread(s) of the story. That’s a Bad Thing because I then create more problems in the story.

That was my insight this past week about writing. If you look for flaws, you will find them. And, if you look for flaws prematurely, you will find them and create more.

That is the question this week: Where are the flaws?

P.S. If you want to check out my writing workshops, see writing workshop 1 and writing workshop 2.

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