There are writers who approach what they do with furrowed brow and gritted teeth. They are afraid to start, and make excuses not to. I met many of them in my creative writing classes, and their stories were pretty much always the same.
|Painting: Cottage Garden Mix|
Perfection is all very well, but it begins with mistakes and mis-steps. Perfection is what you aim for, not what you start with, and it comes, not with luck but with perseverance and many attempts, at the end of the process, not at the beginning. You can't make something perfect if you haven't anything to make perfect. It is too much to ask of anyone, but especially a child, to get it perfect before they even begin.
You start with something hesitant and messy and scrambled and awkward and dull and misjudged, and you make it as perfect as possible. Or as perfect as the finished piece warrants. The degree of perfect-ness (you can't have degrees in perfection) is up to us, and also depends on the purpose of the final version. An email requires very little and you're allowed to be sloppy. An essay for a university paper requires a lot.
And The Great New Zealand Novel? Heaps. As long as it doesn't lose the vigour and spark of life.