Monday, February 7, 2011

Abandonment Issues

"Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned." Oscar Wilde

Is a book ever really finished? Is an author ever truly pleased with her own work?

I'm at the end of my fifth book, so I wonder. I mean, I still love/hate my other four books. They're awesome/crap and I'll never forget them. But I have moved on. I have to. 

I'm a writer. Writers write, right? Or else they're not really writers. They're just thinkers. But it's kind of depressing to imagine finishing this WIP, revising it, and then letting it rot on a hard drive somewhere (as if I don't know exactly which hard drive it would be rotting on!). 

Is it naive to believe every time that this will be the book? I mean, at some point, it IS the book! 

Ask Beth Revis! Or Kiersten White. Or Elana Johnson. I could go on naming my favorite writers who became published authors after years and forgotten manuscripts built from hard work and perseverance. But I'll let you fill in the blanks with your favorite authors. 

________ made it after ten years of writing and rejection.

________ almost gave up, but good friends and writing partners wouldn't let him.

________ changed my life with her one and only book. 

Yes, I have abandoned more books than most people ever write. Maybe you have, too. But believe this (repeat it if you're alone): Someday a book by me will be finished by the hardcover binding that's more satisfying than typing THE END.

And real people who have never met me will pick it up and read it. 

And I will be pleased with it, even though it will never be perfect.

Because it will be a piece of me shared with the world. 

When do you feel your work is finished on a particular book or project? Is publication the end? Or do you feel satisfied just in finishing your final round of revisions?


  1. For some reason, I don't think a project is ever finished completely. There's always room for improvement. But I think you've got the right idea. Someday your book WILL be bound and on a shelf for perfect strangers to buy. Luck follows the persistent! :)

  2. I agree, my work never feels completely done. I always find something I could change -- not necessarily improve -- but change, and it takes a lot of strength (and wisdom) to know when it's time to leave it alone.

    You have an awesome attitude! Someone said you have to work long and hard to become an overnight success, and I have no doubt you will be!

  3. I'm with you guys, never totally satisfied with the quality of my work, but I think that's a good thing. It means we won't ever stop trying and getting better.

    Thank you for your encouraging words!!

  4. Too true. Never satisfied but eventually, I guess, you just have to say "enough". I hope. Haha! Very encouraging!


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