Monday, March 13, 2017

The End - Is It Really Finished?






"The End."

Every writer faces it. Whether a novel, article, blog post, or other project, there's that time when we're finished and we hit publish or submit to an editor.

When approaching this finish line, I often think of a cartoon I saw on Facebook years ago. Here's the general idea to illustrate: 

An editor stood to the left side of the office. 

Writer #1 stood to the middle right, and had just handed the editor a submission. 

Writer #2, at far right, clutched writer #1 around the waist in an effort to keep writer #1 from grabbing the submission back from the editor. 

Writer #1 said, "But wait, I want to look at it one more time!"

The cartoon made me laugh. Been there. Done that. I know the feeling. I'm sure you know it too - that urge to tweak your content. One. More. Time.

It can be a challenge, right? Especially for the perfectionist or hyper insecure writer. While we strive for excellence, we know there's a balance too. We could edit forever, but that's just not practical. Or healthy. 


So what's the solution? While I still wrestle with a final draft sometimes, I follow these guidelines. They're simple but necessary reminders when I'm tempted to over-edit or linger too long on a project. 
 
  • Let it rest - Time is an asset. Even a short break helps us return with fresh eyes before hitting the send button.
  • Get outside input - Whether from writing friends or a paid editor, another perspective offers insight for optimum polish.
  • Deadlines - There's nothing that motivates like a good old fashioned deadline. I often impose my own to stay on track. 
  • Practice - As skills improve, so does our confidence. Moving on gets easier. 
  • Acknowledge that it's finished - Insecurities and perfectionism may urge us to adjust the words forever. But forever is a long time. Give it your best and move forward.
  • We are not alone - All writers face these or similar challenges.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?


Can it Be? 8 Years!

March 2017 marks my 8th Blogoversary here at Write Now. The time has gone quickly, and it's been a great experience. What would I do without you all? I've learned a lot and made wonderful friends. You all make it worthwhile, and I cannot begin to express my gratitude. You've blessed me in so many ways. You're the best!

I've decided the best way to celebrate this year is to take a break. Frankly, I'm a bit tired. Not of writing, but of keeping up with all the perceived demands that can accompany it. It's been a busy bunch of years, with projects, new freelance work, and fun family happenings.

There are a few changes on the horizon for my husband and me, too. All good ones, but a bit of time to refresh would be welcome and helpful. I also plan to do all those other things us bloggers do when we take a break, like spelunking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, and...okay, not those particular activities. But I will hang out with my grandsons and organize the office. Not at the same time, of course. :)  I'll return on April 10.

I invite you to celebrate my milestone of 8 years by indulging in something fun, like a little chocolate or your favorite dessert. While you're at it, why not curl up with a good book too? I'll be thinking of you all!


Do you fight temptation to endlessly tweak or second guess your work? How do you work through these challenges? What do you have planned for the rest of this month? 

Thanks for being faithful friends! :)

Much love,
Karen 



Photo credit: Free Images Suzanne Smith

29 comments :

  1. Congrats on blogging for 8 years. It's an accomplishment, especially as others drop by the wayside. I think taking a break sometimes is good. I really enjoyed my week off and got some other work done, including some of the stuff in the background I have to do for my blog, like updating agent spotlights. Hope yours is truly a break. And yes, it's hard to know when your writing is finished because you can edit it endlessly.

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  2. Hi Karen - I hear you ... and as I'm two months ahead in blogging time ... we need our space - so enjoy those grandsons, and tidying and resorting the office sounds an extremely valuable thing to be done and dusted for a while! Just enjoy life ... and we'll see you in a month or so ... cheers for now - Hilary

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  3. Congrats on 8 years. I hit 12 next month and I think a break is in order. Take a few weeks and go enjoy life for a while.

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  4. Okay, you had me worried with that list of activities. Oh yes, that's what ALL bloggers do when we take a break! Congrats on eight years!!! Have fun and celebrate.

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  5. When I'm changing things back to the way they were in the first draft, I know I'm done.
    Congratulations on eight years. Enjoy your break. You've earned it.

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  6. Congratulations on blogging for eight years. That's a wonderful accomplishment. As far as knowing when a piece is finished, all your suggestions are good. I've found I think "Let it rest" is great advice. Many times after I've put a piece aside I'll find something I've missed, and I rely on my critique group for helpful comments and suggestions.
    Enjoy your break. You are a generous writer who has helped many others. Hope you take time for yourself!

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  7. Happy Anniversary, Karen. And many more, dearest. :-)

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  8. Yes, I'm still fighting the tweaking and it's as done as it's going to get without a pro editor! So, I need to just stop and move to project two!

    Congrats on eight years. Enjoy your break!

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  9. Natalie,
    Endlessly editing, yes indeed, we surely can. Thanks so much - hoping for a productive yet restful break. Glad to hear you enjoyed yours! :)

    Hilary,
    Oh I envy you being 2 months out with your posts. :) One of these years I'll get that far ahead! Thanks for your kind thoughts and wishes. Your support means so much.

    Diane,
    Thanks very much! Wow, 12 years. Yes, you deserve a break, no, a vacation in your dream location! :)

    Stephanie,
    What, all writers don't do those things? Lol Me either. Thanks so much! :)

    Alex,
    Now there's a good indicator for being finished! ::) Thank you! You've been with me from nearly the beginning - appreciate your support.

    Donna,
    Thank you! You're so sweet, you make me blush! It's amazing what a little rest will do for our writing, isn't it? :)

    Jen,
    Thanks so much for your kind wishes. Appreciate your support. :)

    Holly,
    Thanks so much! Sometimes it's just time to call it done, isn't it? All the best with project 2! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  10. Hi Karen - Enjoy your break! I thought I'd done a good job of editing until my critique partner (you) and a professional editor got through with it. :)

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  11. Happy blogoversary to you, Karen. Enjoy your time with your family. We all have to take time to refresh ourselves as we progress through our days.

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  12. I hear you on both counts--tweaking too much until the eyes grow bleary, and the need to refresh and regroup with a blogging break. I thought I was just going to 'touch up' my synopsis as I send out submissions and found myself making more edits, ugh. And 8 years of blogging is worth celebrating. I'll hit 8 years at the end of this year, I wonder what I'll do to celebrate. Whatever, it won't be bungee jumping! Congratulations and enjoy :-) I've certainly enjoyed and benefited from your blog posts through the years...

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  13. Congratulations for the 8 years journey. May it continues.

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  14. Susan,
    Thank you! Well, we all can use help in the editing dept., I'm thinking! :) No matter how good a writer we might be, right?

    Cecelia,
    Thanks so much! :) You are right, time to refresh is essential, no matter what we do in life. Appreciate your support and friendship!

    Kenda,
    Thanks for your kind words. :) So now you'll have to keep us posted about how you decide to celebrate, okay?

    Darlo,
    Thanks so much! It's good to meet you.

    Happy writing,
    Karen


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  15. Congratulations on your eight-year blogoversary, Karen. I just discovered your blog, so while I am happy that you are taking a well-deserved break, I am selfishly glad that it won't be for too long!
    I loved the editing advice in this post -- especially knowing that we are not alone!

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  16. Sounds like a reasonable way to celebrate. =)

    You know, I used to have a problem with handing off stuff to my editor, but not so much anymore. I think publishing enough stuff gets you to the point where you begin to recognize when you are truly done, and when to say enough is enough.

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  17. Happy Anniversary and blog-break my friend! I hope you enjoy every minute connecting with family, and tidying up too.
    I love a good deadline. It reallly means 'it's over now' and I have to submit. I have to say that I am a 'tweaker' and I love to edit endlessly. Sigh...it's an illness...
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  18. Congratulations on your blog anniversary!

    Yes, great advice. I'd only add to work on something else. Read a craft book, write a poem, write a short story, start a new manuscript.

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  19. Congratulations on your blog anniversary!!! I hope you have a wonderful month of fun!
    I'm having my second surgery a little sooner than expected - going in on March 20th instead of April 12th. I will definitely be sleeping, indulging in audiobooks (I discovered I can't read well when I'm loopy from pain medication), and binge-watching Netflix shows or beloved movies (I have a stack I'm creating ahead of time).

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  20. It doesn't take long for those years to add up. But just think of all the wonderful posts you can look back on and enjoy.

    How true that we are not alone as writers who go through all of the angst when creating a story. That is comforting!

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  21. Have a wonderful break and make sure and take a video of you bungee jumping (so I can live through you)! :)Sometime sharing my work feels like I am bungee jumping. It's that leap that sometimes I just want to bounce back to where I started from!

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  22. Congrats on 8 years. It's always good to take a break once in a while.

    www.ficklemillennial.com

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  23. Donna,
    Thank you! Appreciate you coming over. Enjoyed my stop at your blog. Thanks for your kind words. :) I won't stay away for too long.

    Crystal,
    I believe you are right. I know there are many things I don't stress over anymore, editing wise and all. Congrats on your baby news! Excited for you all. :)

    Ceil,
    Thanks so much for your sweet words and support. :) I can be a "tweaker" too, but like I was telling Crystal, have gotten better at that over time. We're works in progress, right? lol

    Theresa,
    Thanks so much! :) Yes, that's an excellent point to do something else. Kind of like changing the subject in your brain, right?

    Tyrean,
    Looking forward to some time off, for sure. Will be praying all goes well with your surgery and recovery. Take it easy, friend! :)

    Lee,
    You are so right. Time does march on! It is a great comfort to know so many wonderful writing friends know what we're going through. :)

    Lynn,
    Thanks so much. Yes, if I bungee jump, I'm sure there will be footage. But I'm not planning on that any time soon. :)

    Gina,
    Thank you! I agree. Time to get out and smell the roses is a very good thing. :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  24. Karen - Please keep blogging! Eight years is not enough. Great post. =0)

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  25. I don't blame you for taking a break. Eight years! Congratulations, Karen. Know that there are many of us who feel the same way you do. I took March off and it wasn't long enough.

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  26. Susan,
    You are so sweet! Thanks so much. I will keep blogging until I become independently wealthy, at which time I will make my decision whether to continue or not. How does that sound? :D

    Joylene,
    Breaks can be lovely, can't they? Thanks so much. :) I hear you, for real. Maybe you can sneak another break in there soon? Take it easy, okay? :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  27. Happy Blogoversary, Karen! Wow, eight years, that's quite an accomplishment. I think you've chosen the very best way to celebrate. Enjoy your break!

    I do endlessly tweak my work. Recently my daughter has been the voice of reason, telling me I am too much of a perfectionist. "Just send it," she says. And I know she's right.

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  28. 8 years! Wow! Congratulations on your blogoversary! Enjoy your much deserved break.

    Your advice for deciding it is the end sounds right to me. It can be so hard to decide a book is "done". Sometimes you just have to say that you've told the story the best you could and made it as clean (and edited) as you could. ;)
    ~Jess

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  29. Ruth,
    Thanks so much! It was a great break. :) I need to do that more often. Sometimes you just have to call it done, don't you?

    Jess,
    Thank you! You are all a big part of this many great years. :) Yes, I agree, that's what we often must do.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!