Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ready? Close enough? Or Not Even Close?

I finished editing my work-in-progress two nights ago (two years and five drafts it took me).  After I read the last sentence, I exhaled a deep breath of contentment and thought that I was finished; I was happy at last with the structure, the characterizations, the descriptions - it felt like my main character's world was exactly as it should be, true to him and his nature.

But the next morning, as I sat on the sofa with my cup of coffee, I felt my self doubt rise faster than the steam off my coffee.

Could I really have finished a full-length literary work?  Isn't that something real authors do?
Am I just fooling myself? There must be something I have missed in the process!  Maybe I did not focus enough on the secondary characters?

And so on.

You get the picture.

Or maybe it is just part of our nature as writers, never to be fully satisfied?

Whatever it is, I am moving forward!


  1. Yes, it's the nature of most authors to never be satisfied with their work. And yes, even real authors do it. I set my work aside for a week or more and then read through it again. It gives my mind a chance to rest and forget all the nitpicking details of self-doubt. I read it again fresh. I can tweak a story to death if I allow myself, but at some point I am going to say it's good enough and move on.

  2. I think you're right, there comes a time where you have to just let it go and move on to the next story. The one thing I've learned from submitting short stories is that I can always find something to change, even after it's been published, and that different editors like different things. Great job on reaching that point of "Finished"!

  3. Writing is so subjective. The fact is it will never be 'done'. It's not like a math problem or when your customer has an issue with their adhesive and you fix it for them (haha, that's what I do for my day job). Those things have an answer. You know when you're done.

    If CPs can't find anything wrong and beta readers can't get enough of it, you're done! That's how I judge at least :)

  4. Congrats! That's an awesome feeling :) Until all that lovely self-doubt itches its way through the happiness, but that's what makes us better writers, right? Constantly striving to improve our words and amp up our stories, endless.

  5. Yay for finishing another edit! I love it when I get to the end of draft like a million, lol.

    And even when your book gets published, I'm sure you'll wanna take the red pen out. That is just how it is :)

  6. We're all with you on that one. We spend so long looking for areas that need improving it's hard to reach a point where we should be sending it out into the scary world :o)

  7. Good for you for still pushing through. I've written over seven novels and the self doubt creeps in after everyone on. Only difference? The doubt doesn't stay as long. You work on edits, perfecting the baby you loved at one point, and realize you still love them.

    Editing your baby is always going to be something to struggle with. When the books in the world you'll have wanted to change twelve things. You just pray you have AMAZING editors and try not to let those harsh reviews jade how you view the writing world.

    Fabulous blog! So great to have found you today!

  8. J.L., Lara, Kelley, Hope, Cassie Mae, Iain, and Jen - thank you so much for taking the time to visit and be supportive! It is a relief to know that we all struggle at times with the process and with finding balance and satisfaction in our work.

  9. Congrats on finishing! The funny thing is I did the same thing a few nights ago and swore I was done but the next morning I was already fixing things in my head. Of course, I have went back and made those changes to put my mind at rest. I think it's tough as a writer to finally let go but you have to cut the cord sometime or else you'll be stuck in that book forever. :)

  10. Congrats on finishing!! So very awesome. And yes, I think it's perfectly normal to second guess yourself. We are just so used to continuing to make it better, I think it keeps us in the mindset that it's never quite there!

  11. Yes, congrats on finishing, I know how liberating that can feel. I finished my other MS and after two years didn't like it. I grew a lot as a writer and felt the end was much better than the beginning when I began to find my voice. I've now started a new MS and I'm loving it. Can't wait to finish to start editing :)
    I'm a new follower and look forward to your future posts ;)

  12. Thanks Crystal - it's great to make the changes, I agree. And then time to cut the cord!! That is what I have now done.
    Thank you Peggy and Jade for your support and encouragement!

  13. Oh how I've been there. Am still there. Have sent out queries and a few synopsis and then last night made a big decision. I need to edit it again. I've decided (one last time) that I need more depth in my story. And so the process continues.....

  14. I am at that happy place right now - is it good enough?
    Only one way to know!