Recently, I listened to a masterclass from author Dan Brown. He mentioned you can get to a point in the editing process where you edit out the “magic” from the first few drafts. The excitement, and the fire—the thing that made the story special.
Similarly, I once heard in a class from Robin Lee Hatcher (February 2024 Monthly Meeting Speaker!) that there comes a point when you need to stop researching your historical and write it. Because you can research forever… especially if, like her, you enjoy research.
Participants in critique groups can polish the first 30% of their story for years, even a decade, but never finish a manuscript. Continually changing it to meet the whims and nitpicks of their friends.
Perfectionism prevents growth in all areas, not just writing. And living in an endless feedback loop of “what if” will never get you where you want to be.
Someone in my book club recently asked another writer if they wished they could go back and rewrite one of their first novels. My initial thought was, “Sure.” I thought I could certainly make it better with a decade more of knowledge.
But the writer asked answered, “No.” She said the person who she was wrote the story. Now she is a new person, and it would be a different story.
Setting aside the fact that learning how to complete a manuscript is one of the greatest educations a writer can experience…sometimes you just need to stop the prep.
And write your story.
Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.