Writing Life with a Typewriter
“Perfection is my enemy.”
— Francesca Battistelli
Charles sent me this ESPN video because I wrestle with writing, trying to get the writing to match what I intend, what I want to communicate. Trying to get it “perfect,” so to speak.
The most obvious problem with perfection is that it’s always out of reach. There’s always something that can be improved. And striving for something that is always out of reach will wear you down, undermine the shred of self-confidence you have and, eventually, immobilize you. It’s too painful. If perfection is your goal, you’ll never be good enough.
But more important than that – If you could achieve perfection, you would have lost something very important.
Why does children’s author Alfred Slote write his books with a manual typewriter instead of a computer? Because “you have a chance to make things perfect as you go along with the computer. And there’s a real loss of innocence, I think….Sucking the life out of it.” He says his books would take him much longer to write if he wrote them on a computer.
What’s wrong with perfection?
It sucks the Life out. The spontaneous, warm, surprising, perfectly imperfect Life.
Watch Alfred Slote as he writes Life on a typewriter: