Or so I have to remind myself.

For the past few months (egads, months), I’ve been working on putting together a flash fiction collection. It wasn’t the actual writing of the stories, or even the revising of the stories, that has taken the bulk of the time.

Getting it typeset and ready for publication has been the Time Suck Extraordinaire.

I have been learning the ins and outs of book design. Things like:

  • the horrors of widows and orphans and runts
  • why justification is a good thing (when I was convinced it was Utter Evil)
  • how to set up a book template, with all of the appropriate margins and master pages and paragraph styles
  • finding fonts that look good and do not require paying someone
  • the differences between title case, all caps, and small caps
  • drop caps look cool, but are perhaps not worth the time or effort
  • how to write blurbs
  • the true book content always starts on a right-hand page with Page 1
  • starting chapters on a right-hand page is classy
  • there really are no (or at least very few) rules WRT book design (other than that bit about always starting the true book content on right-hand page #1)

but most importantly:

  • I hate designing covers and writing about myself

Yeah, good times.

So a LOT of time spent mucking about with learning not only the industry standards (or close-enoughs) of book layout and design, but also the damn software to make the book layout and design happen.

I am really hoping that the time I’ve put into this will pay off later when I can just use a template I already put together, and format text quickly (since I’ve learned the little niggling bits that Scribus uses to annoy be different from InDesign).

Have I spent too much time on all of this for a 40 page collection of very short stories? Oh, probably. Which is why I’m having to remind myself that:

The Perfect is the enemy of the Good. Or Good Enough.

In this age of digital publishing*, there are very few things that can’t be changed. Need to modify the document? Fix it, then upload the corrected version, and get on with life. Write more, live more. Don’t get caught up in the nit-pickies of the minutest details. Yes, get the major points right, but then move on.

Recently, I read two self-published short stories in the same genre: one was beautifully formatted, but the story and writing were, shall we say, less than satisfactory; the other one was poorly formatted, but the story was engaging and well-written. Guess which author I will continue to read?**

Perfection is an ideal we will never meet. Not to mention that it’s also a stress-inducing strategy that makes a challenging activity even more difficult. It’s time we accept this, and make the most of our art/lives.

Life is short. Get over yourself and your need for perfection (aka FEAR), and do your thing with love and joy.***


*I think this applies to most of life as well.

**The poorly formatted, well-written one, if that wasn’t obvious.

***More reminders for myself. Hopefully this helps you, too.