Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When Is A Piece of Writing Finished?

Image result for free image or clipart of person putting a lid on
The Writing Pot

Do you know when to put the lid on your writing? It's a difficult task for many people. Maybe just one more edit. This piece could probably be better if I keep working on it. It's not perfect yet.

No one taps us on the shoulder as we finish edit number three and tells us we're done, that we should now find a market and submit. Oh, if only it could happen that way!
We know, without a doubt, that editing and revising is going to help us create a better piece of writing. That process can take more time than we'd like because we need to step away after each editing process for a few days. Then go back and see if you are satisfied that you're ready to call it ready to go.

Some writers have a real problem with doing that. We strive for good, better and best as we revise and edit. How do we know when we've hit that 'best' point? We probably don't but we do have to come to a decision on when to stop editing and start submitting. If you wait awhile after the last edit job, then read what you've written and feel some measure of satisfaction, call it ready. It's a rare writer who can label something they've written as perfect!

I have often made that decision to end the editing process and submit the writing, only to come up with a brilliant (maybe) way to end my essay after it is sent. I might come up with a different
ending than hat I sent the editor. Or I might suddenly remember a situation that would have made a great illustration of the point I was trying to make. Well, too bad! The submission has gone and I cannot change what I sent and resend at that moment.

One possibility is, that if the editor accepts your story or essay as you sent it, you can still ask if they would consider a change you have in mind. Some will be agreeable and others will say they want it as is. All you can do is ask. And if the worst happens, and your piece is rejected, then you have a chance to add or change before submitting again.

It is often difficult for the writer to look at what they've written with completely objective eyes. So much of what we write is very personal to us. That is why I love having my online writing group look at my writing. They'll let me know if it is finished or needs more work.

Put a lid on the Writing Pot when you feel reasonably satisfied. I rarely feel 100% satisfied with what I've written but there are times when I feel a lot better than others. When I am bothered by a few things, I know it's not the time to submit yet. But, I won't edit and edit and edit right away. I find it's best to put in a file and forget about it for a few weeks, or even longer. Look at it with fresh eyes later and you'll be surprised at how much easier it is to come to satisfaction.

The freelance writer trying to make a living doesn't always have the gift of time like some of the rest of us do. They often write on deadlines but they also learn to edit a couple of times and call it done.

Work on learning when to call your writing finished. Overdoing doesn't always benefit us in the end.

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