Are we nearly there yet?
Hurrah! Time for celebration! Because I have finished the second draft of my new novel.
Only it isn’t really cause for celebration, because now I have to start the third draft.
“The third draft?! Why are you bothering?” some people have said to me. The answer is because it needs it; simple as that.
People who don’t write books for a living seem to be amazed by the time involved in creating one. They ask me constantly: “Have you finished your book yet?” But I can no more write a book in the blink of an eye as travel from one end of the country to the other via teleporter.
Still, lately I find myself feeling annoyed and making excuses…
“Well, almost, but I’ve had a lot of work on this week so haven’t be able to do much,” I explain.
“There was something not right with the timeline, so I had to spend a lot of time working it out.”
“I’ve been busy on research rather than writing.”
All this is true. So why am I plagued with guilt that I’m not working hard enough? Why do I find it so irritating when people ask me if my book is finished yet?
The answer is because I am as impatient as they for me to get my next book out. I feel like a child constantly asking myself: “Are we nearly there yet?” in the journey of my novel. The answer is always a weary “nearly.”
I want to show people what I have done, because I am proud of it. But it isn’t ready yet.
It is not in my nature to let something go until I am happy with it. There is a difference between tinkering because you are scared to let go of your writing and put it out into the real world, and honing something until you know that it is right. I will not put anything out until I know I have gone as far as I can with it. Until I have reached the end of the road, as it were.
So to any writers out there caught between impatience and perfectionism, I urge them to have the courage of their convictions. Stick with it, don’t let anyone put you under pressure to publish too early – not even yourself. You won’t reach your destination any faster by questioning it; and when you get there, you will know.