If you have kids, you know that you’re never really done parenting. Your kids might already be in their twenties and lead very capable lives, but you’ll always feel the urge to protect them, to egg them on, to lend your (most assuredly unwanted) advice.
It’s the same with the book you’ve written. You’ll never feel like you’re done editing it.
In fact, the entire process of writing a book is very similar to having children (or at least this was true in my case, before anyone starts howling about how wrong I am).
- You start out with the idea of writing it, feeling emboldened and scared at the same time.
- You don’t tell anyone about it at first, in case something goes wrong, but the mere thought about it is enough to make you breathless.
- You read up everything you can about how it’s done.
- You put a ton of work into it, a ton of time, and it becomes tedious and repetitive at some point.
- You realize one day that this labor will never end, and even though you never regret your decision, you become irritable and exhausted.
- At times you become so frustrated you want to throw it all down and be done.
- You pick it up again and slog through, and holding the finished product in your hands is the proudest moment of your life.
- Except then you start finding mistakes. You go back and fix some. Other people are pointing out mistakes. You go back and fix those. You let it rest.
- You go back again and realize that you were wrong about mostly everything you thought was right, and wish you could go back to the beginning and start over…
If you’re neither a writer nor a parent, you may not be able to commiserate. Then again, maybe you play golf, and then this will all make sense to you too.
The point is, you have to find that sweet spot between accepting what is and working hard to improve it. You will never really feel as if you’re done raising children, much like you’ll forever chase the elusive final edit of your book.
The older it gets – child or book – the more you really just have to let go and love it for what it is.