Does a writer ever have the luxury to say, “I’m done?”
That depends on whether your editing and rewriting are making your piece better or just making it different. If you see glaring problems, you need to continue rewriting.
Room for Improvement
I have a weakness in describing settings. So I study how others do it, get brochures for the places, then do my best to describe the settings. Maybe I should travel to those places and not write the book until I do. But that’s not always practical. Sometimes we have to settle for using the research we’re able to conduct.
I can no longer read my first book because I see glaring errors. Now I know more about life and writing. As long as we’re learning, we’re never done.
That’s how it is with raising children. After they’re grown and gone we say, “I could have done it better.” We learn as we go. We do the best we can.
Our Best for Now
If we’re always saying I need more education, more experience, more maturity, we’ll never finish anything.
It’s good to be objective enough to realize your work isn’t perfect. If you see obvious errors in craft, character, and plot, fix them. But if you just have a feeling your work isn’t perfect, join the club. We’re human, with flaws and limitations. As long as we’re striving to improve, we’ll produce the best work we can.
Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author with more than 3 million books in print. She directs the Blue Ridge Autumn in the Mountains novelist retreat each October at Ridgecrest, North Carolina.
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