Without revision and editing, most of us would produce writing that sounds awesome in our heads but doesn’t entirely make sense to anyone who lives outside our heads. So, for the love of clarity, let’s all keep revising and editing. But let’s not let perfectionism stop us from finishing our work.
Imperfect Is Perfectly Fine
Even professionally published work contains errors. We’re talking writing that has been revised and edited by the author, by an editor, maybe multiple editors, and then probably edited some more. And mistakes still make it through. Yes, we should aim for the best quality writing we can create, but we must accept that we’re probably going to fall short of perfection. Arguably, any piece of writing could be improved in some way. And opinions vary on the very best way to communicate any idea. So do yourself a favor and let it go.
When to Let Go
Deadlines force us to finish our writing at a set point. As such, they can help us move forward. If you don’t have a set deadline for whatever you’re working on, you might try making one for yourself. Or multiple deadlines, even. Like, a date when your initial draft will be complete, a date for revisions, a date for editing, and a date for submission (or publishing if you’re doing that on your own).
How to Let Go
If you’ve given the revision and editing stages the time, effort, and attention they deserve, you can be confident that your writing is better now than it was when you started it. I know how difficult fighting self-doubt can be, so go ahead and let it have its say. But know that at some point, you have to shut it down. Decide to be done making adjustments and send that piece of writing out into the world.
Here’s some good news: once you’ve completed a piece of writing, you’re allowed to stop thinking/worrying/obsessing about it. You’re now free to move on to whatever exciting thing you plan.. to write next.