Insecure Writer's Support Group--November Edition
Better later than never, right? Just been a hard few weeks so I am a bit behind.
A little bit ago, my teacher for Technical Editing mentioned a good, professional writer can see when something is good enough. And that sounds pretty spot on, in my opinion.
Writers can go through so many editions, rewrites, editing, double-checking, and overall suffering from the lack of perfection. But I don't think a work in process can ever really reach the level of perfection. I'm not sure that level exists for anything in the world. If one was to constantly aim for that they will never be ready to let go of their project.
17, 50, 98 editions and years later and it's still not to the level you want....it's because one hasn't been able to see the 'good enough' and move on. Can anything really ever be perfection? As covered in a previous post, I just don't think it can. An author will just need to know when the project is good enough to submit.
And just because you send it off doesn't mean that it is gone out of twitchy fingers forever. We all know it takes an astronomical amount of luck to get accepted by agents/publishers instantly. You will probably have time to keep learning and to edit a little. But during Spring, I listened to a short-story author speak at the school and he said that there are works that have been published that he could've gone over multiple times, forever perhaps. But he had sent it in and it was published and it was very well received.
OK, I think we can all agree that there needs to be a time where you say "alright, that's good enough" but how on earth do you get to that? If anyone knows an actual answer, please share! I can only assume it is just about training and just pushing the project away.
Perhaps it is just about getting excited or impatient and sending the work in? Though that sounds a bit risky, it does give you a chance to branch out and try to get it read. But if you're rejected, you just started the learning process early and maybe you will be lucky enough to be told what is wrong.
But what if you don't want to send something in before you know that you have reached that good enough? Well, there is the pickle. It could be very personal and whenever you feel that you are ready, however that moment might not hit everyone.
I would say, you probably should rewrite the story more than three or four times and shouldn't re-edit more than MAYBE seven (overall). Once you start reaching those numbers, you might want to step back and start sending them in. In general, if these numbers make you uncomfortable, I would keep it all under the number 10. UNLESS you really do need to completely change up your story, you shouldn't be going overboard like that.
Now is this the right now? More than likely not. This is just my personal opinion.
In truth, I think you must set up a personal limit. Tell yourself you will NOT go over 10, 12, 15 editions or rewrites. Once you reach that number, you will let it go. Maybe you will come back to it, maybe it will be accepted and publishing, or just maybe you need to step back from it for a while and move on to another project.
Now, just to let you know, I am not saying be lazy or not try. Work hard on your project. Give it the love and attention that it deserves. If this is your dream, work hard to make sure that you reach that dream.
Just don't let the haunting thought of perfection control you from ever sending out your work. Just take a deep breath and take the plunge into sending things out once you think you have reached "it's good enough".