This weekend I was chatting with a freind of mine whos novel I critiqued. This is his third, fourth, fith… I can’t remember re-write. He is now going through what I call re-write angst. Honsetly I know why, but I don’t know why.
This is my advice to him: Stop. Now. Back away from the computer. I don’t go through more than two re-writes before I submit. Otherwise, it’s crazy making. You can nit-pick a work in progress to death. There is a point at which you have to just let it go and send it out. Nothing will ever be perfect. I read my published books and occasionally cringe with “I should have changed that.” But the point is the editor liked it. The editor didn’t see a need to change it.
Now, I have submitted works and had editors reject with a request for a re-write. That’s a different animal. That is how tailor your book to a particular market. But absent a request, I won’t touch it. It will make you crazy. It will make you belive you cannot write. The more you stare at those same words, the more you tweak, the more you will convince yourself you can’t do it. If you think there are serious weakness in a book, get a second opinion. Send it to someone you trust will be brutal with you. But don’t do it yourself. You have already lost focus.
So, if you’re on re-write number 5. Stop, back away from the computer and send that puppy out into the world.