Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Know When Your Book is "Done"

Why yes, I put "done" in quotation marks for a reason.
As writers, we strive for our books to be flawless. We want them to be beautiful, mistake-free, perfect works of art that everyone wants to read. But, even when we go through the editing process twelve times, our book just still isn't perfect! It seems like if your book isn't perfect, it isn't done. And if, no matter what you do your book still isn't perfect, doesn't that mean your book will never be done?
No. No it does not.



1. You've read it more than once. Yes, I know your book can sound boring the more times you read it. But that is no excuse to not read your writing multiple times! Doing multiple read-throughs of your manuscript is a key part of the editing process. So if you've only read your book once, it's not done.
2. You've done more than one round of editing. You may think one round of editing is good enough, but unless you're just really good at finding mistakes in your own writing, guess again. Multiple edits is another key part of the editing process. Do not make the mistake I did and skip it!
3. Someone other than you has read it and given you feedback. This could be a beta reader, a friend, parent, writing buddy, etc. I didn't think this was necessary--actually, I kept trying to convince myself it wasn't necessary because the thought of letting a total stranger read my book terrified me. So I started small on Wattpad, which led me to find my fantastic beta reader whom I trust and appreciate dearly! Seriously, though--someone other than you has got to read your book and give you feedback. It'll make a bigger difference than you think.
4. You've accepted your book will never be perfect. I am definitely still struggling with this one, and honestly, I don't know if I'll ever fully accept it. But you at least need to partially accept it. Your book is never going to be that flawless, perfect story you have in your head no matter what you do to it. The sooner you accept that, the closer you'll get to being "done."
5. You feel that your story is finished. Yes, I know that sounds lame, but I'm serious. You are the author of your book--the only person who can truly decide whether or not it's finished. Don't let others tell you that something needs to be totally changed if you don't think it needs to be. Don't let someone tell you your book is done when you feel deep inside that there's more changes you need to make. But at the same time, don't confuse feeling that your story is unfinished with feeling that it's imperfect.

I still struggle with a lot of these things, and I probably will for a long time. But that's okay! What I do know is that this round of editing I'm doing with my beta reader is my last round of edits before I do one final sweep of each chapter to make sure everything's how I want it. Then, I think Unperfected will be done. Not "done," but done. Yay!
So don't get discouraged by the imperfectness of your story! No book is perfect, and no author is perfect. So don't slow yourself down by trying to do the impossible. Just accept your imperfect awesomeness and get that book done!

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I always struggle with this one. Thanks for writing! Currently #4 and #5 are conflicting. I know my story will never be perfect, but I feel like I still need to make it a little more perfect. Oh well. That's writing, I guess. =)
    Congrats on being close to finished with Unperfected! So exciting!

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    1. Thanks Hannah! And yeah, I don't think any writer will ever be able to fully accept that their book will never be perfect. But like you said, that's writing. And thanks! I'm really excited to start querying again. Hopefully this time I can get an agent :)

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