Room for Imperfections


Gram and Imma both admit they have imperfections, in their writing and most other areas of their life.  They also agree that how you handle your imperfections is much more important than the imperfections themselves.

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Some paintings or works of art have imperfections that make them special.  They set them apart and give a signature to the artist.  Likewise, our imperfections are often a ‘fingerprint’ of sorts, a way that we are unique among human beings.  They set us apart.  They are lovely quirks.

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Many people. however, look at them as the things that make us broken or worthless. They refuse to have imperfections because imperfections ruin things.  They mar the person/creation, exposing flaws.

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When it comes to writing, both attitudes exist.  Some people look at flaws in writing as quirks that make the writing unique and special.  I have a couple of friends who blog with flaws. Their grammar is not perfect, and they sometimes use colloquialisms in their writing.  Do they worry about it?  No they do not.  Does it ruin their posts?  No!  It actually gives a quaint, special feel to the writing.

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One plus of the above type of imperfections is that they make the writer more approachable.  The reader feels more like he or she is having a conversation with the writer, and this puts the person at ease and makes him or her want to come back and engage with this writer.

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Those who refuse to allow imperfections in their writing, especially when it is not a professional piece, may put off the reader, making him or her feel like they walked into a spotless parlor and are afraid to move for fear of messing something up.

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No one is perfect.  We are all a package deal of strengths and weaknesses.  We all have flaws and make flaws.  Should we seek to do our best?  Absolutely! But, when those flaws pop up, it is not the end of the world.  It may just be the very thing that draws your readers to you.

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Which view do you take on flaws?  Do you see them as unique foibles, and chuckle as you rock in your chair and sip your coffee? 

Or do you see them as evidence that someone messed up?  Do you write so that people feel uncomfortable in your posts or stories because they see no humanness in you?  Do they sit gingerly on the edge of a chair and choose not to sip that coffee because they may spill it on your perfect rug? 

While Gram is more likely to choose flawlessness and Imma the flawed approach, they both agree that flaws/colloquialisms/chosen misuse of words/etc. can make a reader feel more at home.

Does your writing . . . 

My best friend used to tell me she loved to come to my house because it wasn’t perfect and she felt she could kick off her shoes, make herself at home, and enjoy.  I took this as a compliment. 🙂

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19 Comments

  1. I am far to imperfect to do anything but continue to seek some degree of improvement, knowing all the time I will continue to be imperfect. The problem is though my view of the world, my background, history and yes even my opinions will at times make people extremely uncomfortable. I think though, if they let down their guard, ask me questions about why I think they way I do, from whence my thoughts or opinions come they might learn something about the world I come from, then maybe it won’t be so frightening or so harsh.

    • This is true, Valentine! People have reasons for their beliefs, and many times, we would understand if we just looked below the surface a bit. I don’t think striving to improve is wrong, of course, but striving so hard that we lose our humanity and our perspective is. I think many people spend a lot of time and energy trying to hide their imperfections rather than embracing them (even while seeking to improve) as part of their uniqueness. I am not the sum total of my imperfections. Life will not end if I make a mistake or admit to foibles. Hmmmmmmm. Maybe I need to continue this blog lol. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. It is much appreciated! 🙂 Angie

  2. Hi Angie. I like this topic. As a teacher (retired) errors in writing used to jump off the page and demand my attention. I’m talking about my own mistakes, too, not just those of other writers. Reading blogs has been an eye-opener for me. Some of my favorite bloggers slaughter the language, yet they are the ones who have the most to say. I have learned to write freely and to read freely. Over thinking what I’m writing takes a huge bite out of the creative process. It isn’t worth it.

    • I had a major struggle with that as well, and in some venues, perfection is certainly needed. However, it does not need to keep us from enjoying someone’s work. Angie

  3. Nicely said, Angie. I have a hard time with professionals, ad agencies, newspapers, magazines, publishers. People in the business who take your money and don’t do their job. For example an ad agency puts up a billboard 20 feet high with something about …’ you’re Subaru’. I see red.

    Blogging, on the other hand, sounds natural and should. If there are spelling errors, I will notice them but they aren’t the end of the world.

    Good subject for discussion.

    • I think some of us tend to be “grammar snobs”. As an editor and professional writer, it takes me a while not to want to edit for everyone. Not everyone carries that inner editor around with them. AND even the inner editor can miss things. If it is a professional work, it should NEVER have that kind of error. After all, I’m pretty sure more than one person proofed that before it hit the billboard (you’d think anyway). There is a place for more casual writing, though, and for those who struggle with grammar/spelling/etc. issues. 🙂

  4. elizabeth

    I’m laughing Angela because my blog has to be one of those unmentionables 🙂 I couldn’t tell you even if I did come across an imperfect piece of writing what was wrong with it. I’ve banged my head against walls for too many years trying to understand. At this stage in my life I’m not too bothered. Though I do try to rewrite correctly as much as possible I don’t have a clue about what I’m looking for. I’m great a a number of things in this life writing good English is not one of them.

    When reading I tend to enjoy the body of the piece rather than the parts. 🙂

    • Exactly Elizabeth. Some people don’t get it. All of us have some things we don’t get, that doesn’t make us bad, it makes us different. I’m glad you’re able to laugh, and I’m glad you go ahead and write without worrying too much about the grammatical details. If you start writing for newspapers…. they don’t seem to care much either lately!!! Angie

  5. What I remember a friend saying about a messy house . . . ” I come to see my friend, not the house!”
    To answer your question . . . write to invite rather than forbid sounds more in tune with what’s in our hearts. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks. I’ve heard that one too. Unless someone has roaches crawling across my lap, I’m usually good. 🙂

      • Yuck, roaches are so creepy! They really disturb my world especially the big ones! 😦

    • I totally agree! NASTY, NASTY BUGGERS!

  6. Wow I must be priceless, I’m sure I have more weaknesses and shortcomings then most, just as well God is the super Glue, but we are not to critically judge these in others, we are to take out the plank in our own eye first then help them with their splinter, still looking for your splinter Angie but my blank keeps getting in the way. Have a good day.

    Christian Love and blessings from both of us – Anne

    • I agree – you’re priceless!!! 😉 Yes, God is the super glue, and He loves working with us weaklings (when we surrender) because it points to His power and not our own. God makes sure I keep my eyes splinter free!!! He doesn’t allow me to write/teach/etc. without going over my own stuff first. If we all really didn’t judge, then we wouldn’t be so afraid to admit our shortcomings. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! In Him, Angie

  7. This is extremely interesting! I constantly strive for perfection and yet, I love the imperfections in people that set them apart. I do know and acknowledge one thing though, and that is that striving for perfection is, in itself, an admission of imperfection and an imperfection! Ooooooh! I’ve scared myself with that!!! It’s a fascinating subject. Great post.

    • Ha Ha Ha Ha!! So true. You’ve called out all perfectionists. I’d be interested in knowing how many perfectionists are oldest children, maybe an informal poll for another day. It’s also true that our imperfections are often what draws people to us, so why do we try to extinguish them???? Thanks for coming by Bettie!

Trackbacks

  1. And I started a Sentence with But « Writing with both sides of my brain
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  3. Writing – an ever learning process « writing with both sides of my brain

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