A few days ago, I finished rewriting on my contributions to The Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology. I sent my revisions to the members who collate the contributions into the final manuscript. The volume will be turned over to Acorn Book Services for formatting and uploading to the marketplace for e-books. (Hopefully in December.)
I received a couple of specific criticisms from the publisher on two of my pieces. However, I revised almost every story, including my biographical paragraph.
After re-reading the pieces multiple times, I wanted to yank out several of my entries because now I hate them. I don’t want them published under my name. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t mature. They bore me. Some are pablum. Pablum suggests simplistic writing.
I tell myself. “This is a first effort, so the stench of the amateur shouldn’t surprise anyone.” That’s my scared self speaking.
I’m delighted that the editor suggested changes to improve stories. Consequently, there are two or three pieces I think deliver entertainment for the reader. Satisfactorily. Worth the price of admission. Maybe leaving the reader curious about what comes next from this author.
And I grew. As an author. As a wordsmith. As a human being. As an experimenter.
Striving to make something excellent is good, to a point. Sometimes a writer rewrites and rewrites, seeking perfection in a piece. But there does come a time to stop: stop reworking, stop criticizing, stop touching up. At that point, it’s time to publish and let the chips fall where they may. It’s time to face the music.
Am I ready for the commercial press? Book buyers will vote. Readers will tell me.
If my collection of work is a screw up, I hope a reader is brave enough to spell out specifics for me, not just the critique “I don’t like it.” It’s the “I don’t like it because. . .” that helps me improve the next time.