Passion for Perfection

10 Oct

The world learned of Steven Jobs’ (SJ) death last week. I have no intention of entering the debate about his impact, large or small, on the world. Those discussions are for people who have nothing better to do.

Reading about SJ’s passion for perfection struck a chord with me I did not expect. His passion to put beautifully designed, easy-to-use personal computing devices into the hands of the world drove his every waking hour.  He had the vision and he recruited people who could bring his vision to life. He never wanted to produce low cost commodities that weren’t designed for the easy operation of the user. He never sacrificed quality for the bottom line. Stories are all over the ‘net about the products he held back until they “just worked.” That was Steve Jobs’ passion.

SJ never lost his passion. His body wore out before his passion for perfection. Michael Graves, in an article Special to CNN, October 07, 2011 wrote:

“One imagines that Jobs, given how much he loved doing what he did, wanted to leave this world exhausted from his passion for his life’s work, for that’s all that would give him rest.”

Writers are passionate about the written word, but it is hard to maintain through the entire process. Original idea, plotting, first draft, subsequent drafts, beta reads, final revision, submissions, rejections, sales. Then, start over with a new WIP. It’s also hard not to get just a little (or a lot) tired of your characters after a while, IMO. The WIP isn’t as bright and shiny after everything you go through to prepare a novel for publication. Passion is tiring, people!

But, when I think of Steve Jobs, I want that passion for perfection. That drive. That absolute certainty and dedication to a vision. I’ll work harder to maintain it throughout my writing process. I’ll honor what I’m writing. I’ll honor me.


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20 responses to “Passion for Perfection

  1. johannaharness

    October 10, 2011 at 5:25 AM

    Well said, Janis.

    • Janis McCurry

      October 10, 2011 at 7:41 AM

      Every once in a while, I need a reminder about this type of thing. Thanks, Johanna.

  2. Meredith Conner

    October 10, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    Excellent point. Something we should all strive for. Thank you Janis.

  3. Peggy Staggs

    October 10, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Perfection is a lofty goal.

  4. ramblingsfromtheleft

    October 10, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Janis, they say people like Jobs only appear once in a generation, yet there has been no one since Thomas Edison to compare and he was at least three generations ago. He was the DaVinci, , the master inventor and the light of the art world … yes … I considered him an artist. Who else could turn one simple class in caligraphy into the amazing choices we have in fonts? Who could envision our driving need to replicate the thoughts and images that our brain desired to communicate and give us the way to do it in minutes? The thought of writing on a note pad or pounding on a manual typewriter, of doing draft after draft in this way is but one of the “tools” the men of vision gave to writers. What Steve Jobs gave us was the ability to take that to the ultimate level and he did it with passion and love. … That word “love” the glue of romance is the only word to remember. He loved what he did and for that I will never forget … Love what you do and in time others will love it as well.

    • Janis McCurry

      October 10, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Funny how love returns in many forms and we are fortunate enough to have it in writing. Thanks for the great response.

  5. Liz Fredericks

    October 10, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Good thoughts, Janis! Pursuing what you love with passion is an excellent way to honor yourself and the people who care about you.

  6. Janis McCurry

    October 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Thanks, Liz. Women don’t often think about honoring themselves. If it’s in their “job description” or doesn’t pay bills, it’s as if they don’t think it counts as something honorable.

  7. Carley Ash

    October 10, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Well said, Janis.

  8. Clarissa Southwick

    October 10, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Janis, I think as writers we’re always caught up in a tug-of-war between wanting perfection and the desire to tell new stories..There always seems to be one more layer to add, or another path to explore. At what point does the quest for technical perfection suck the life right out of the author’s voice? As long as we have that passion, the revisions are worth doing. When the passion’s gone, it’s time to move on.

  9. Janis McCurry

    October 10, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Yes, knowing the tipping point is “the rub.”

  10. Mary Vine

    October 10, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Very nice thoughts, Carley. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

  11. Janis

    October 10, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Thank you.

  12. Steph

    October 11, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    What a wonderful way to compare the passion of writers with someone who lived his dream. This blog comes at a very good time for me. Thank you.

    • Janis McCurry

      October 11, 2011 at 11:40 AM

      You’re welcome. I appreciate your comment.

  13. Lynn Mapp

    October 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Wow, well said. He was driven. It makes me feel like…I’m not making the most of what’s been given. I can work harder.
    Well…I am working harder. I’m tired. I bet SJ may have had these moments, but maybe not. Maybe he keep the BIG picture in front of him.

    • Janis McCurry

      October 12, 2011 at 7:26 AM

      I think SJ did think of the big picture and evolution of ideas. Not many can do that when the crush of the “now” overwhelms them.


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