I have a plethora of story ideas taking up residence in my head. My muse must be tired. But with all the characters running around up there, there are a couple who stand out from the crowd. They are the *perfect couple* with the *perfect plot* and the *perfect conflict* and the *perfect resolution.* Essentially, the perfect book. Also known as the book of my heart, which translates to the hardest book to sit down and write. So instead of plunking out the tale of my hero and heroine, I studiously avoid it by writing every other story I can think of. A heroine in love with the lost spirit of her hero? Check. A knight pining over his wife who won't have him? Got that. A young lady with grand hopes of a true love match? Yup. I could keep going, the stories are endless, and yet there is one tale that continues to elude me. Oh, it's not as if I haven't tried, but how can what I write ever measure up to the perfection I see in my head? Simply put, it cannot. I have put these characters and their plight on such a pedestal that I fear I may never be able to reach them. I chase the tails of their story, desperate for a few words of... well, perfection. And when those words don't meet my standards, I hit delete and try again until I find myself so frustrated that I walk away and back to a less perfect couple, a more simple story. But why would I bother with sub par protagonists? Why bother telling any story I am not infatuated with? The answer is that these other stories are NOT actually lacking in anything. They are not imperfect, they are merely attainable. Attainable because I have not spend countless hours envisioning scenes of epic proportions. Attainable because I have not locked it away behind a shield of shatterproof glass then thrown away the key. Which is exactly what I have done with the story of my heart. That's the problem with perfection. It blinds you to anything less, but really, what is perfection? Especially compared with a completed novel that may have some slippery slopes, but that can be edited to a polished sheen. And yet I quake at the undertaking of writing anything less than *the best.*
I usually don't get on board the whole new years resolution business, but as I watch the years pass by me with no more than a series of imperfect chapters I've thrown in my computer's trash bin, I realize that maybe that's exactly what I need. I need to be resolute and brave. I need to put one word after another and not look back until I have a completed draft. It's time to take these characters and their tale from their high perch and look at it for what it truly is. Can I do it? Can I put perfection from my mind and let these characters trod recklessly over the dreams I once had for them? That's a tall order to fill, but one I have to be willing to try.
This year I will close my eyes and tread blindly to The End where I can again open my eyes and look over the beauty of a completed first draft. As imperfect as it might be, there is nothing better than having written.