What Do YOU Think?

I’m interested in getting your thoughts about stuff I see and hear, quotes I read, stuff that passes as knowledge – and starting an authorey conversation.

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Ohhhh, this.

This, this this.

THIS!

For my perfectionist friends: please don’t polish your book forever.

Please.

It’s never gonna be perfect.

At some point you have to stop polishing and publish.


* * * We interrupt this blog post for an important message * * *

Don’t forget: Tomorrow is THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Prepare to be impressed.

I am. Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.


At some point, your story doesn’t get better it just gets different.

I actually get it. These are friends you’ve lived with for a long time, and you don’t wanna say goodbye. You don’t have to. Every time you open the book, they are right there again. Give them the happy ending they deserve and start your next story. You have more than one good story in you.

Do not deny the world of your amazing story any longer.

Or are the endless rewrites and revisions your way of hiding? If you publish, you actually run the risk of being seen as a failure because your book doesn’t sell 100,000 copies. You’re not a failure as long as you don’t actually finish it? Hmm. True, but that sounds a lot like denial to me. Yes, publishing can definitely change you from writer to failure if you have unrealistic expectations, but tinkering allows you to keep the dream – pretense, really – while starving you of the joy that comes with someone saying your story changed their life, or that they loved it, or it made them cry, or that it was the best book they read last year… or even that it was really good. You are denying yourself that, too.

Either way, sounds like you’re in denial…

Is that the example you want to set for your kids? Is that how you want them to respond when they are faced with a challenge? No? Then why is it good enough for you?

Well, know this: 80% of adults want to write a book. The vast majority never do, and don’t even start. You’re already a success if you started because you’re no longer in that group.

What are YOUR thoughts on this idea?

27 thoughts on “What Do YOU Think?

  1. Since I adore John Steinbeck I suppose the quote about perfection must have merit. I can see how someone could live in the fantasy of success while procrastinating and polishing. I like your encouragement and I’m excited to learn about your writer’s contest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfection is a subjective concept anyway. My rule of thumb is working on something until I really like it. If I like it, chances are others will too. If I don’t, others may, but if I can’t see why I take it as an indication that there must be something I can do to improve it. Besides, why leave something I don’t like as is?
    So I shall work in the wake of Grace Jones’ words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My standard response to all comments on perfection: Perfect is the enemy of the good.
    But I think you might have really hit the nail on the head there with your comments about tinkering to perfection saves you from exposing your art to the light of other’s scrutiny. I suspect that may have a strong element of truth for many perfectionists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I debated about saying it but I try to be truthful. It’s definitely an element in some people’s writing. Maybe being confronted with it will wake them up and inspire them. I hope so.

      I have a friend – NOT I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU, JT (and JT will not know she’s JT, either) – who wrote really good stuff. She admired me because I would publish, and I wondered why she never did. There was always a reason. After a few years, it occurred to me: she was afraid. That saddened me. She wanted so badly to have what I was having, but couldn’t muster the last few ounces of courage to actually publish. No one will ever know how great a writer she is.

      And as I write these words, I realize I also am afraid. I see another friend, I call her the Little Red Hen, diligently doing promo after promo while I shrug and say I don’t have time, or I’ll get to it… and then I complain as her book does better than mine. Fear isn’t the right word, but she’s getting it done while I watch, so something’s gotta change – just do it. There’s no great time for that promo, or that interview, or that guest blog post. Do it now. See a good idea float by in your Facebook feed? Emulate it. Now. Oh, it’s kinda hokey or it probably won’t work? Glad you have a crystal ball. Meanwhile, it’s working for her! And then in a week when you think you have the time, do another one. Always be doing something, never stop pushing. That’s my advice to me. Let’s see if I can follow it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Any author must understand when a work is finished. It is part of the job description of being an author – write a story, know what you’re saying, know how to say it, know that you’ve said it. An author who does not understand if a work is completed, or nearly so, may not understand whether any work is finished.
    How to learn about whether a work is finished? It’s education, not a college degree but doing stuff writers do. Writing in many forms. Reading a whole lot. Appreciating good writing and identify poor efforts at the written word.

    Liked by 1 person

      • A point about finishing: Novels are more complicated to finish than essays; short stories are short but are they finished? Well written newspaper articles can seem finished. The point being, the writer (artist) has to come to a conclusion – what needs to be said, what not.
        Finally, everything that needs considering can be found in all sorts of writing. Hence, it is good to see how George Orwell goes after an essay topic, demolish it and come up with great writing. Some of Stephan Crane’s short stories are done. Ditto Joseph Conrad.
        My advise, stick to people who know what they are doing and learn from them. Anyone can quote the modern day writers by reading the various and sundry publicity driven articles about how an author barfed over his girl on the first date and missed kissing her thereafter.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this! Yes, there comes a time when you just have to stop tinkering. And you know, your next book will be better. It should be better. Because you are learning a ton with each book. So give yourself a break. Give the world your story. And if there are things about it that still frustrate you, then do it better next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oooh, this is a complicated one to answer! I get what you mean that a book will never be completely perfect, so we should just go ahead and publish it for the world to read. But at the same time, I am a bit of a perfectionist and that side of me screams to keep polishing and perfecting a book before publishing (like my blog post: Revising a Manuscript is like Cleaning a Castle says 🙂 ). I think it comes down to a good balance between the two. Because honestly, I could keep cleaning/perfecting a book forever and never publish it, and that would be a tragedy! It’s just hard to know when exactly that right moment is that a book is good enough to send out into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you say, it’s a balance. People who try to be perfectionists just need to realize they run the risk of never publishing; people who don’t care to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed run the risk of looking like rank amateurs. The sweet spot is somewhere in between.

      For me, the story is the main driver. Once I have a good story put together with really interesting, compelling characters, and a couple of good surprises, i’m good to go. From there I just want to make sure that I don’t have any typos or plot holes. (My beta readers can find those things.)

      After that, I let it rest for a month, read it again and anything that I feel like skimming over, I remove.

      So I’m not perfecting as much as I am streamlining. My urge is to publish the thing is soon as I’m done typing “the end” after the first draft. I just force myself not to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good advice, Dan! I read and edit several times and then let my beta readers have a look. It helps to have other eyes on my work. I tend to miss something because I know it so well.

    I agree it is like saying goodbye to a friend when I finish a book. I have a series for YA that I enjoy immensely and don’t have to say goodbye yet. Presently working on Book 5 and loving the characters. Others evidently love them too since I’ve received four book awards. I’m thrilled! Gives me a reason to keep writing another. Ha!

    Believing in oneself and feeling that one’s work is well written and polished to the best of one’s ability is what tells a writer that his/her books are ready for publishing. Keep writing and believing in yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

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