Gillian writes: “You’ve said [of writing] ‘It’s never done.’ I’m stuck in the perfectionism sand trap. I’ve rewritten countless times. Friends and family urge me to send it off. That’s a paralyzing thought. Any advice?”
The easiest part of writing is when you are done with a project. I recall my friend Natalie Babbitt saying to me, “That’s when it gets easy. You are just adjusting commas, but you can pretend you are writing.”
On the other hand, starting a new project is often daunting. (You said paralyzing) You know what’s ahead of you and it is not easy.
That said, writing anything is always a learning process. Still, you don’t get to use that learning until you start something new. Even when you write something that won’t be published you have learned something about writing and yourself.
Then again, an editor once said to me (in a rejection letter) “Lots of people have one book inside of them. It’s the second book that tells us if there is a real writer at work.”
Finally, to be brutally honest, the world does not care if any of us write another word. There is plenty of good writing available already. Ultimately, all that matters is if you want to write.
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