When is enough, enough?

Welcome and blessings to all the newbies following my blog.

As shoots force there way through the earth and spring blooms early, I was forced to thinking of the writing process and how tortuous it can be for some of us who don’t know when to call it a day. I don’t think we ever get things perfect, what writer does? I still can’t figure out either, how it is that no matter how scrupulous I am and how many people read a manuscript, an error still lurks here and there. Is there a gremlin of mistakes? A little demon who sneaks out just when I have a paragraph perfect and snitches in an extra quote mark or takes it out. Is there an elf that twists a word back to front just to spoil all that hard work with polishing. I reckon there is.

Which also made me think. When is perfect, perfect and when does it go past perfect and if it does, can perfect be a negative and not a positive? This made me wonder which part of creating I like the most and I honestly don’t know.

I enjoy very much the first draft of a story because I am in the full flood of creation and I am not thinking about commas, full stops and each word and whether it entirely makes sense…I am simply fashioning and stitching a rough copy together. It is so exciting to do that. After that there is much fun in polishing the next copy. Sadly for me, I am not one of those people who gets it right first time and it is a major headache, refining, altering and perfecting.  As I write this I thought I’d be able to decide what part of the process I enjoyed the most and I half thought I’d be able to say to you there was a part I hated and a part I loved above all others. But actually, there isn’t. I now realise I even like the final draft, the one where my eyes get sore and I think I’m going crazy as I track down repeated words and thoughts and find with a stab of horror, my hero changed names twice and it took me until now to spot it. Now that would be really confusing for the reader.

Having said that, a colleague of mine accuses me of too much refining and I think she is right. When I often look back on first drafts I can see that too much refining strips out the spontaneity. Which leads me on to my last point. The wonderful enlightened editors, who I thank the gods for…the ones who say not worry about too much refinement, “we want to see you in full flow and uninhibited.” That is the work I know I want to send in. Now, I sit up and rub my head. But can I really resist that constant refinement and the attempt to send in the perfect manuscript?

I don’t think so.

Happy writing and I hope you are all busy editing and refining.


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