How to stop and move on

by SJ Griffin

Do not fear, gentle reader, we are not delving into relationships issues or matters of the heart there. This post is just about how to stop tinkering with your final, final draft and let go. You wouldn’t believe the amount of trouble I had doing that. Four rounds of proofing turned into four rounds of tinkering. Hence the four rounds of proofing. I lost all perspective. On everything.

I had a schedule and I wanted to stick to it, that was quite important even though it was self-imposed and didn’t really matter to anyone but me. On the other hand, I didn’t feel that anxiety you feel when you’ve run out of time, like when you playing boggle. I just started to feel that I could sit there revising it for ever and ever and that I was just changing it for the sake of it. I tried to remind myself of my deadline. But I set it and I can’t even stick to the ones other people set.

So, I started to ask myself one question: if I change that sentence/word/punctuation point am I improving the clarity with which I am expressing myself? If the answer was ‘no’ I changed it anyway. Because I’m like that. But after getting to the 129,113th word, again, I realised that I’d been answering ‘no’ for the last 129,112 words and if there’s one thing that’s annoying it’s someone going ‘no, no, no, no’ over and over again. Particularly, if they’re talking about ice cream. So I moved on. I may have even gone out for ice cream. Either way, I annoyed myself so much I knew we were through. Me and the book: over.

And then I got really excited about the sequel.

So, next time I’m going to ask myself the same question. I’m going to irritate myself into submission. I’m going to get on my own nerves so much that I have no option but to stop or throw myself out of the window.

Maybe finishing a book and moving on is like doing that same thing in any other aspect of life. You get bored with yourself doing it, then annoyed about it and then you get excited about you doing something else. It’s almost like writing a book teaches you something about life, or something like that. Weird. I dunno. We’ll come back to this. Let’s go get some ice cream, yes?