There’s a special kind of angst reserved just for writers. You get to experience it only after you push that “publish” button. Doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post or a book, you always wonder if you could have made it ____________ (fill in the blank) funnier, more concise, less formal… The list is endless.
Looking back over a piece you wrote last year is a little like looking at old photos of yourself. You question your taste for choosing those pants or wonder why you thought that haircut was a good idea.
When I have my writer’s hat on, I’m constantly re-reading, editing and refining my words. Sometimes I find a better verb, or another way to structure the sentence to make it read more smoothly or deliver more impact. There’s always some tweaking you can do to improve your blog post or novel or press release. Always. How do you know when it’s good enough?
You can drive yourself crazy going back over words you’ve read so many times you know them by heart. That’s part of a writer’s dilemma. Eventually, you see letters and words that you expect instead of what’s actually on the page. It’s one of the reasons why writers need editors.
Sometimes, incorporating your editor’s comments into your work is part of the circle of craziness. You make the edits then check and re-check your work. It’s so easy to miss a word or mix a tense when you’re incorporating edits. If you let it, the process of re-writing and editing can turn into a vicious circle. The trick to maintaining sanity is knowing when to stop the madness.
If you accept that you’re not perfect; if you believe that you’ve written to the best of your abilities as they exist right now; if you recognize that point when your edits are not improving your piece, merely making it different, then you’re ready to push that “publish” button.
Go on. Be brave. You’ll be a better writer tomorrow; it’s inevitable. And tomorrow you’ll find that error you wish you’d found before you published. It’s part of the deal. Don’t let it drive you nuts.