Before becoming a writer or even before finishing a writing project, it’s easy to think about the finish line. “I just have to write this, this, and this, and then I’ll be done.” The reality, however, is that the work of writing is a never-ending loop.
As writers, we are constantly learning. Whether it’s on the craft of writing, or research for a story, or just experiencing life, writers are always processing information and how to apply it to the written page. If you are a new writer, be prepared! This can cause some unexpected mental blocks and creative drains, but it’s also what makes our writing better. Learning is a great thing, but you’ll have to determine for yourself when to take a break and recharge.
With all the ideas, creativity, and research going through our heads all the time, you’d think writers wouldn’t have the capacity to overthink.
In addition, we’re also problem solving for our characters as we write. We feel for them. All of them. We worry about them and baby them like an indulgent parent. We live a thousand lives inside our heads. We edit, and edit, and edit some more, trying to bring our dear characters to life. We worry about words and how readers will interpret. We fret over commas and the perfect format. The list goes on. Bottom line? Writers overthink a lot. Be prepared for some mental breakdowns.
The Illusion of Perfection
We writers love our babies. And by babies, I mean projects. We polish them til they shine, but we’re often too afraid to let someone else have a look. It’s not quite there yet. It’s not ready. Just one more round of edits, then we’ll let it go. We want it to be perfect before we let it go.
I’ve got some news for you: It won’t ever be perfect.
Yes, spend the time polishing, but let it go while you still like it. Others will help you focus on what needs more attention. Others will know better than you when it’s ready to release into the world. Let others stop the ruthless cycle. Breathe. Move on.
A writer’s work is never done.
Because a writer never stops writing.