However, can perfectionism in writing become our enemy?
Many of you know my agent tried to sell two completed books to Bethany House and that they only contracted one to be apart of my three book deal. They didn't want to buy my second completed manuscript because the setting and time period are currently not popular among readers.
Truthfully, I was very disappointed they didn't want to give the second book a shot. I'd grown a lot while I wrote it and thought it was tighter, better writing with a more complex plot and deeper characters than the book they contracted. I was excited about the story (and still am!) and had wanted it to be my break-in novel.
Bethany House may take a look at this book again at some point, but for now, I'm shelving it. Even though my agent had another publishing house express interest in it, I'm focusing right now on working solely with Bethany House. I'm letting go of the dreams and hopes I have for that second completed book--for a time.
When we devote months of our lives to a particular book, spend money on a freelance editor (yes, I paid to have my non-contracted book edited), then spend more hours and weeks sweating over edits, trying to get our books perfect. . . it's incredibly painful to think of shelving our books, isn't it?
At some point we have to make a decision to cut the ties with that book and move on. But how does a writer know when it's time to shelve a book and start the next?
That point will be different for every writer. But I think we'll know we've reached a letting-go level when we've allowed perfectionism rule as queen. When we're continually striving to reach an unattainable level of perfection, we hash and rehash the book, we spend months, maybe years on the same story, trying to get it just right, but are either never satisfied or face continued rejection--then maybe it's time to let go.
Perfectionism could be stopping you from writing the next book. And that next book probably won't be perfect either, but maybe it will finally be: Good Enough.
Has perfectionism ever been your enemy? If so, how? At what point do you know it's time to shelve a book and move on to writing the next?