IWSG August: How finished do you have to be to be finished?

“If you are ever completely satisfied with something you have written, you are setting your sights too low. But if you can't let go of your material even after you have done the best that you can with it, you are setting your sights too high."
-Terry Brooks

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
 -Philip Roth

What am I talking about here? Well, I've been working on my first novel for over a year now, and with a few tweaks here and there, I'm going to start querying in the next couple of months. I finally realized that it's never going to be perfect. I realize that it's not likely to win any awards, or have critics oozing praise all over it.

What I do have is something that I - mostly - liked writing, and something that I think - hope - people will like reading. In the end, that's all I really want to do.

So insecurity for the month: Letting go.

It's one thing to allow other people read your novel and have them tell you what they think. It's a completely different thing to send it out, knowing that you may have to put up with rejection after rejection, before acceptance finally comes in...if it ever does.

So for the next month or two, I'm going to work on my MS and growing a thick skin. I'm gonna need it.


  1. Those quotes made me twitchy. Not because they;re not perfect (they are, and I love them) but because they ring sooooo true.

    Maybe your MS WILL win awards. You never know. But it's pretty freaking amazing to be at the point when you're ready to let it go. I look forward to reading it some day :)

  2. It is an amazing thing to be ready to let your MS go. Good luck with your submissions. Happy writing.

  3. Good luck! My WIP was such a disaster that I've been editing it on and on for four years. It really wasn't ready, but I've learned a lot and the editing is happening faster and more smoothly now.

  4. It is a challenge to let go. That's why I have crit. partners to tell me when I'm ready. best of luck querying!

  5. Good luck! I'm dreading getting to this stage, I think I'll either let go too early or not let go at all.

  6. Congratulations Jen! Keep us updated on how the querying goes. I can totally relate to what you're saying here. I'm STILL finding typos in my (published) book!

  7. that is a hard one. To let go. I always heard to an artist art is never done. Still if we ever want to get it out there to people we have to find a place to let go. Good luck on the queries keep your head up and remember for every MA thrown in the trash or fire place, there is one that makes it through. The trick is, keep going.

  8. I love Roth's quote! Thick skin is a must in our line of biz, for sure. Rejections are part of the game. Each one gets easier. The key is not giving up. Getting discouraged is normal, just don't give up. Keep trying. :)


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