Over the years, I’ve started three or four novels and haven’t finished any of them. The work hasn’t been a total waste. I learned a lot in the process, and I’ve culled pieces from those novels and published them as short stories. I’ll continue to take make use of that material, and at least one of those novels has a good chance of receiving its due.
This week, I have the opportunity to release two ebooks. My novella and my raw food booklet are both very close to completion. I’ve had a round of readers look them over. I’ve written a synopsis of each and started preparing the manuscripts for uploading. The novella has a cover, created by my amazingly talented fiancé, and the cover for the non-fiction book is in the works.
Like many writers, I tend toward perfectionism when it comes to my work. I don’t want to let it go when there’s any chance of typos, factual errors, logic gaps, story problems, cliché, or anything that will give the appearance that I didn’t put in enough effort. I take my work seriously and want that seriousness to show on the page.
One of my first writing instructors, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, has a bit of advice for writers like me. Barbara likes to say, “Done is better than perfect.” This is, of course, true, since “perfect” is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. No matter how hard I work on a piece, there will always be room for improvement. There will always be a number of people who don’t like it. There will always be a number of people who would’ve done it differently or could’ve done it better. If I do my job well, there will also be readers who embrace my writing.
The key is that I do work hard on each piece before I let it go. I could keep the ebooks in a file on my hard drive and come back to them in six months or a year to see if I could improve them. In all likelihood I could. I hope to have learned something with the passage of time. By that logic, I should save all my work until I’m in my final days.
Releasing my darlings is a part of the process. I can’t find readers with work stored on my laptop. I can’t earn any money for my work if I don’t offer it for sale. My hours upon hours of effort can’t entertain or educate, if I don’t share the results of my labor.
I’ll publish both works before the end of the week. It would be selfish and self-defeating not to.
Go write something!