I was talking, last night, with a writer friend about a mutual writer friend whom we absolutely adore. We were discussing the fact that some writers, like this one friend, was in constant edit mode, tweaking mode, and didn’t see how wonderful her stories are. It occurred to me, and I have heard this expressed on other blogs, that this is a rut, a cycle of always reaching for perfection. No book is ever going to be perfect, that is an impossibility. As my one friend stated, since the opinions of what is perfect is so varied, getting a perfect book is not achievable.
Improvements can ALWAYS be made. But there comes a time when one must step back, take a deep breath, and really ask ones’ self if you are overdoing a bit? if one has been going over and over and over the same project could it be that you have gotten it as good as it can get? That perhaps now is the time to let it fly free.
Now I totally understand how hard it is to let go of it and say “This is as good as I can get it.” And shove it out into the grand wide world. I have stories I am still clinging to and think, “I can get it better!” Even when a part of me knows that this is as close to perfect as this particular project is going to get.
Dean Wesley Smith put out a blog post a while back entitled Dare to be Bad in which he discusses this very issue. I think it is well worth the read.
I see people, who’s writing I love and adore, caught in this mucky unending cycle of editing, rewriting, tossing stuff out, starting again from scratch, and I have caught myself doing it too (Bastard Prince anyone?:P). I have to shake myself, tell myself “Knock it off! At this rate the other stories will never get written cause you are constantly tweaking this one!”
People, i think you may know who you are, your writing is far better than you realize. Is it good enough to submit? (The people I have in mind have dreams of going trad) YES IT IS! Submit it damnit! Dare to be bad! So you can get on to the other stories you have in your hearts waiting to be told.
And with that, though I am still on vacation, I’ll go back to tweaking Bastard Prince. I am going to finish it, because there are other stories in that series to be told and other projects are waiting.