Sunday, January 6, 2013

Very Belated IWSG Post: Measurements

Sorry I've been terrible about posting for Alex's amazing blogfest!  

With writing, one of the most challenging things for someone structure-oriented is the lack of tangible measurements. When you're starting, there are no external deadlines, no grades, no red lettered feedback. 

Throughout many of my writing days, I'd churn out words and with a round of editing, cut them. Often, it felt as though I wasn't making progress. Once my novel was finished, I was cutting entire chapters. Even when an entire book was "done", it was nowhere near ready to be sent anywhere. (My first manuscript will always hang out where it belongs: in the safe folders of my computer.) 

When will I know I'm done? I wondered. When will that mental checkpoint be fulfilled? Will I always be a person who loves this without producing anything? 

As someone who enjoys physically crossing things off of a list, this became frustrating at times. 
It took time for me to realize that I'll never technically be done. That's the intricacy of art. I couldn't think of it the way I did science. Art can be revised forever, if allowed. Once I've gotten more skill, with the help of critique partners and an agent, maybe I'll be able to gauge when something is good enough to see the light. 

Measurements aren't the point.  Even sitting in front of the computer, trudging through those blurry, mental cobwebs, is something. 

Sign up for Alex's blogfest here!


  1. Good point! And if you're a perfectionist like me on top of it, nothing is ever really finished.
    I guess we just get good at letting go...

  2. It is hard to finally reach a point where you can declare something "done". I am not a true writer, but I have friends who are, and some of them tell me this is the most difficult and sometimes frustrating part of the process. And you are so right- measurements aren't the point.

  3. That is so true! It's difficult to know when you're "done" because each time you look at the writing there's always something that can be edited or rewritten. We just have to get it as good as can be and then let it go!

  4. Hi Saumya, I too struggle with the thought that when will my book be perfect enough to send out. Each time I look at it, I find ways to improve it more.

  5. glad you still posted and with such a good one! sometimes we never think we are done...breath breath! we will get there :D

  6. A piece of writing is never finished only abandoned. - Paul Valery

  7. I can absolutely relate to this post... I need clear progress markers. I agree and understand that as a writer, my work is never done, but as a person with a strong need to feel productive and organized... I feel pacified with my own mile markers. :)

  8. I have heard of authors talking to fans and telling them (even with books that have been out for years) what they would change.
    It is, indeed, difficult to know when to stop.

  9. The trick is definitely in figuring out when you're done. Good luck!

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