First off, there’s no such thing as perfection, even in writing. It just sounds nice.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say:
The editing process has become my favorite part of writing.
I have long loathed the revising throughout my life. I was the whiner in the back of the classroom that sighed and rolled their eyes when the teacher announced when the first draft was due.
But writing creatively forces the revision process—at least it does if you want the work to be any good.
I learned to love the revision process through editing my poems. It’s encouraging to see a first draft completely transformed, and some of the time unrecognizable. That satisfaction encompasses more pleasure than what’s experienced while writing something new.
The pause before “perfection,” or completion, is something I often face while revising. And I wonder if anyone else experiences it.
It’s when I’ve edited my work to the point where I know it’s almost complete, but I can’t quite figure what last needs tweaking.
“Have others read it.” Yes, but what happens when they don’t point anything useful out?
This can get confused with some writers’ (me) inability to feel that any project is complete. This pause is more of a gut feeling—an error that hides, but is there nonetheless.
So, in that, I always consider this stage the pause, or when I’m on the edge of something great.
From there I put it away for a few months…sometimes a year. Sometimes I forget all about it. Then I pick it back up, cut half of it and end up with something that is genuinely good.
Here’s the thing. If you’re convinced that a few drafts are enough and it feels complete, you’re probably missing something. I often hear, “it never feels done, but that’s just because I’m a perfectionist.”
And I can relate, but what if…it’s because it’s not.
Make sure you know the difference between a project being completed, but is hard to let go of, and something that just needed to be set aside, forgotten about, then made into something better.