The question seems ridiculous, really.
When speaking about his or her own work, you'd think a writer would know the answer to those four little words strung together. They make up an important, terrifying sentence, with so much weight and worry attached.
Is it done yet?
At least for now.
Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not.
I've read many blogs on the subject of knowing when your manuscript is complete and ready for submission. Most of them state the obvious. When you've got nothing more to say, you're done. When you've got nothing more to say and have proofed it...you're done. When you've got nothing more to say, have proofed it, and have had a professional editor proof it...you're done.
That's all well and good, but I could look at a professionally edited, already published, "bought and paid for" news article, blog, manuscript, or other personal work from years ago, and would likely still find something to change about my own writing, in that moment. When it comes to the written word, my mind doesn't embrace absolutes. I don't shut off the valve of creativity the moment I write "the end." I continue to tinker with my work in my head for days, months, even years later. At any moment, I might change my mind. I might pick a different ending. I might tweak a sentence, or two, or 200.
And it's okay to be that unsure. It's my work, and I get to decide whether to leave it alone or change it...again.
Maybe I'm feeling a bit feisty and want to go for that snarky tone, because someone just ticked me off.
Or, maybe I'm feeling nostalgic and want to add a flutter of a memory.
Or, maybe I'm feeling silly and mysterious. Maybe I'm feeling dour and prophetic. Maybe I'm feeling tired or euphoric.
All those maybes could change my own perception of my work.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's okay if a writer doesn't feel confident in "the end." Frankly, the ending might change tomorrow, when a writer suddenly has a moment of clarity.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not remotely a wishy-washy person—not in my writing and certainly not in my life. I submit work under deadline on a weekly basis, confident in the knowledge that I have submitted my best work possible, in that moment. I wouldn't do it any other way. That doesn't mean it can't be (or won't be) improved upon by myself or an editor or a client. Sometimes, my work goes untouched by an editor's red pen, and it's "done"—perfect, even—in my client's eyes. Sometimes, I wish I'd had more time with that same piece, because I know I could do better. But that would be for me. I've learned, over the years, those are the projects I have to let go. If the client is happy, then I need to move on. I need to be done, too.
Is it done yet?
Probably not, but it's as done as it's going to be, until I have a good reason to change my mind about it.
We all want perfection. And most of us don't see that perfection in our own work.
A writer, particularly one who may be new to writing or doesn't have a lot of confidence in his or her ability to come to a "perfect" conclusion, should never feel guilty or novice for finding it hard to find "the end." If you are questioning yourself, you're not a bad writer or alone in that indecision. You're just like everyone else. Your mind is still working...churning out those other artistic choices.
Is it done yet?
Sure, if that's what you want to call it.
My manuscript is done, too.
Until I change my mind.
As always, thanks to Michelle Haas for the cool artwork.
#amwriting #WIP #amquerying #amdone #amsodone #WritingCommunity #writingtips #MondayMotivation #MotivationMonday