I’ve been very busy lately polishing my current WIP novel, Bleed Well. I think I’m on about the 7th revision right now, and I’ve come to the realization that I will never ever be completely happy with it. I think that I need to put my foot down and say I’m done.
As writers, we have to know that we will never be perfect, and chasing perfection will just take you further and further away from your audience. To grow and become better, we don’t need to constantly go back and forth as to whether or not to keep that adverb or that line of dialogue. We need to get it to a point where we can live with it, and then let it sink or swim on its own merits.
A short story I recently read, “In the Reign of Harad IV” by Steven Millhauser in the April 10, 2006 issue of the New Yorker. It’s about an artist that strives for perfection, and while eventually he reaches a point where he is satisfied with himself, he has lost his audience, respect, and any type of productive career. Basically chasing perfection is a fool’s errand.
So in that spirit I encourage all of you to put down that red pen and evaluate your work, not on if it’s perfect, but on if you think you have reached a level of professionalism that would leave you satisfied.