Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Being Finished and Needing Help #IWSG

The big question this month for the Insecure Writer's Support Group is, When do you know your story is ready? 

With my daily devotional, Cling to God, coming out later this month, this question has been on my mind a lot lately. It's a question I've struggled with for a while, and will continue to struggle with for each separate piece I write. I may be too much of a perfectionist. Consequently I love deadlines because they keep me focused and there's only so much faffing and doubting and nail-biting and questioning a person can do before the final edits have to be in.

Honestly, I believe a piece of writing is never completely finished. If you had all the time in the world, you could tweak it endlessly. And it gets worse as time passes because as you grow and change, your ideas or the way you express yourself also grow and change. The piece will never be perfect. So don't try for perfection. All you can do is make sure the story has gone through all the stages of critiquing and multiple editing passes, and also make sure you've taken a break to get some eye-clearing distance. After that, if all you are seeing is tweaks, then send that baby out. That's when you'll really know if it was ready or not.

How about you? When do you know your story is ready?
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The IWSG Short Story Contest 
Happy news!! Due to a number of inquiries, we've decided to drop the word count limit for our Fantasy 'Hero Lost' short story contest to 3000-6000 words. So get writing! For more info on the contest, go here.

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Help! As I mentioned earlier in this post, my book is coming out later this month. October 18th to be precise. I am also in the middle of sorting through my horded collection of junk, which was the result of living in this house for almost thirty years, and trying to either sell, giveaway, or pack it for an interstate move to sunny Queensland. Madness, I say! I need help! No, I won't make anyone rummage through the dust bunnies at the back of closets. Instead, I need help with my book launch.

If you would love to help me spread the word about the daily devotional on or after October 18th, then please send me an email (lynfaw at gmail), or leave your email in the comments section. A quick tweet on the day would be awesome, or a Facebook share, or share the news on your blog, or if you'd like me to guest post on your blog some time just let me know. Whatever you'd like, I would be deeply grateful! 

93 comments:

  1. You know I will help! Just tell me what you need.
    We could play with our work forever. And when we gain some distance, it's even more so.

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    1. Thank you so much, Alex. You are so generous.

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  2. Safe to say I will be promoting you title for you - starting with a big library event this weekend. If the hurricane doesn't interfere of course.

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    1. Oooh! A library event!! I'd love to pics!! And yes, that Hurricane seems to be causing a lot of havok!!

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  3. Congratulations on your book release later this month, Lynda! I wish you the best! I'm working on my submission for the anthology contest, and I'm aiming for close to the full 6,000 words. We shall see! Every time I land home for a few weeks, I try to declutter my hoard of things a little more. A move may be in my very near future too. Good luck with preparing for yours!

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    1. I'm excited to read your submission! And thanks so much for the best wishes.

      It's smart to declutter a little at a time. Facing it in one quick blow is monumental and overwhelming.

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  4. Congratulations on your book release. Good luck and you know you have so many people pulling for you, praying for you and ready to promote your work. I don't know the answer to your question, because it is similar to my question this month, but different. You are much further along than I am, but I am struggling with when do I know that my work is finished enough to send it out and show it to people. I've worked on this for so long and this is all I've wanted, so now that I've revised the darn thing to death and back again and written the end over and over do I find myself wanting to revise it and check it one more time before I let others read it? It must be my fear of rejection. Because up until now I could always claim, I'm still working on it. But, once I send it out and others tell me it's not any good then I will feel like I've failed. Does that make sense?

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    1. I've found that the more you show your work to people, the less stressful it becomes. And I can very much relate to not finishing a work to hold off the chance of failure. It took me nine years to finish my first novel, lol.

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  5. Congrats on the release. It seems this is a busy time for everyone.

    I have some projects that have sat so long I don't know how the research ties in anymore. Frustrating when an idea marinates too long.

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    1. When I know it's going to be a while before I can flesh out an idea properly, I write quick notes to remind me where I was going.

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  6. I would be happy to send out a tweet and FB shout out when your book comes out. Congrats and yes there comes a point where that story must end if you want to ever submit it somewhere.

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    1. Thanks for the offer to tweet and share on FB. I really appreciate it!

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  7. Congratulations on your book release. I agree: stories can forever be tweaked if we don't put our foot down when we know it is truly as good as it can be. Good luck with the move ;-)

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  8. So true that stories can be tweaked forever. Good luck with your book launch. Too back it had to happen when you're getting reading to move too.

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  9. Thirty years of junk? YIKES!! I just cleaned out my garage. Ugh. I feel your pain. Congrats on the upcoming release!!

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    1. Yup, it's super painful and time is ticking away fast! Thanks, Jennifer

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  10. Congratulations on the upcoming release of the devotional. It sounds like a rewarding project.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. It's hugely rewarding.

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  11. Deadlines really help me focus. That and themes or limited word counts, etc. I need limits! :)

    Congratulations on the book release!

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    1. Limits are good for us!
      Thanks, Madeline

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  12. Yep, we can play and play and play with it forever. Have to say when at some point and let it go on out into the world.

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  13. Thanks for sharing, Lynda. It's nice to know we are not alone with our insecurities. Wishing you lots of success with 'Cling to God'. Many congratulations.

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  14. You make a great point that a piece is never really finished because of how we grow and change. Great way to look at it.
    I'd be happy to help spread the word about your release! My email is julie@julieflanders.net
    Congrats and good luck with it!!

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    1. Wow, thank you so much, Julie. I'll send you an email soon with all the info.

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  15. Great Post and so true!!!!

    I'll be happy to help too! cathrinaconstantine@gmail.com

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    1. Huge hugs! Thank you so much, Cathrina! I'll send you an email soon with all the info.

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  16. Staying focused. Great advice. At times, I can be so scattered. Deadlines do help us focus on what's important. Best wishes on your book launch.

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    1. I love, love, love deadlines. Thanks, Diane.

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  17. You reminded me why I love to go back and look at my old articles and blogs. I love seeing how I've changed. Thanks, Lynda. Happy IWSG Day.

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    1. Isn't it encouraging when we look at our older stuff? :)

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  18. I'll help Lynda! Even though I'll be in the middle of my own tour, I can always make room for you.

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    1. You are so wonderful!! Thank you so much for sparing the time in the middle of your own tour. I'll send you an email soon.

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  19. Focus is key. And I rely a lot of my CPs to tell me to stop nitpicking. :) Good luck!

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    1. CPS like that are wonderful! Thanks, Christine.

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  20. Awesome advice, Lynda. I can't wait to have you over on Nov. 2. (An email will be in your inbox shortly.) There really is a point where we just have to go forward and laugh at the small things, eh?

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    1. Nov 2nd...giggle. I'm super excited to have you hosting my book then. You are so awesome!! I'm not going to have any desks by then (Movers are taking everything the day before, lol. So that's going to fun. I'll probably be sitting on the floor with my computer on my lap)

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  21. So true about editing. I'll be happy to tweet on your release day.

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    1. You are so wonderful, Carol. Thanks so much.

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  22. Hmmm... I wonder what would happen if, after calling my book finished) I looked back at all my bookmarked articles about editing and how to make your story shine. I'd probably see about a dozen ways to make the story stronger and then I'd have to go back and edit it again. Might turn into a vicious circle that never ends.

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    1. At that point, send it to at least two critique partners you trust and see what they say.

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  23. I have to admit that once in a while I think about going back to book #1 and tweaking some things, but that's just not going to happen. Time to forget that idea and write something better than book #1. Good luck with your book release.

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    1. I never go back to anything that's been published. Once it's published, it's done. At least, that's what I tell myself. There's a story I got the rights back on recently and I'm tempted to revisit it and republish it. Eek!

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  24. At some point I stop tweaking and that when I send it in. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  25. Congratulations on your book. Yes, we can tweak for ever. So I say, is this story the best one I can write, right now? That helps me feel finished.

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  26. Your book is on my TBR list. I'll email you later. Would love to help.

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  27. So true that we just have to send it out the door. I'd be happy to help with your launch and will definitely do a tweet that day. Good luck with your launch and you move!

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    1. Thank you so much for the offer of help. I'll send you an email with info soon.

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  28. I working on it, but I'm not good at knowing when to stop the tinkering! :)

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    1. Good and trusted critique partners should help you with that.

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  29. I agree. I constantly find myself pondering over my work. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. I am happy to help where I can :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Erika. I'll send you an email with some info soon.

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  30. There will always be tweaks, but when tweaks are all that's left it just might be time.

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  31. Hello Lynda,
    Like you, I don't think a work is ever finished. There's no such thing as the perfect book. If there were, we would not need to put out a second and third edition etc.

    Also, I can't wait until your book comes out. I have already pre-ordered it.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. oh my, Pat. That's so wonderful! You've made my day! Thank you so much.

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  32. Hi Lynda - good luck with the book - it looks like you've got lots of offers for your launch ... and then your move - good luck with that ... take care and all the very best - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I'll need all the blessings I can get.

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  33. Did we find a house yet?
    I both love me and don't love me deadlines, I am known in my country as the last minute translator wizard meaning that when they must do something quickly the publishers usually send manuscript to Dezzy to translate in the fastest possible time.... not very good for my ticky ticker though....

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    1. Yes!! We found a new place to live!! I'm super excited. It has a river view.

      You don't surprise me about being a wizard. I imagine you aren't only fast, but good too.

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  34. I can help you with your book launch. I don't need you to give me your whole book, but could you send me a sample of the daily devotions? We could do a short author interview on my blog, Play off the Page later in October. maalgaard4 at gmail.

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    1. You are wonderful. Thank you, Mary. I'll send you an email on Monday (my Monday so probably your Sunday, lol).

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  35. We really could tweak endlessly.

    You have my email...I can send as many tweets as you'd like. :)

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  36. I would love to tweet for you, Lynda, or post on Facebook. I haven't really been blogging. Just send me what you have. GwenMGardner@cox.net. The book sounds awesome!

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    1. Thank you so much, Gwen! I'll send you an email early next week.

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  37. I'll add a bit to one of my posts and tweet! Send me all the tweets you want out there, and I'll tweet. tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks Tyrean! I'll email you after the craziness of the weekend passes.

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  38. Very thoughtful answer to this month's question. I have fought being a perfectionist all my life and it is a story killer if it raises its ugly head while I am trying to finish a story. Excited for your new devotional to come out in Oct. Yes, I'll help with the launch. I'll send you an email.
    JQ Rose

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    1. Thank you so much for your generous offer. You are wonderful!

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  39. I agree that a piece of writing is never finished...at least from the author's perspective. But hey, that's why we get to write sequels;)

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  40. It's so easy to keep tweaking and tweaking. Just get it out there and jump into a new project.
    I'm not much with the tweeting, but I'd be happy to add a promo for your book to my Friday Celebrate post on October 21st. Just send me the info: lmaclaug82@gmail.com.

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    1. You are so wonderful! Thank you so much. I'll send you an email as soon as I can. (I've been run off my feet lately)

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  41. I agree with you 100% about improving abilities actually prolonging the editing process. We gotta throttled down the perfectionism and move on. I'll be happy to share your release on social media on Tues the 18TH!

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    1. I'm super happy about your offer, Lexa. Thank you so much!!!!!!!

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  42. Yeah. I'm never finished. I'll email you about appearing on my blog. Just a quick question--has anyone locked in November IWSG? That might work for us...
    Hope the packing/house hunting etc etc are going well!!

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    1. I'll pop you an email this arvo. Been crazy busy. Crazy.

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  43. I agree with you that the longer we hold on to our manuscripts the more faffing and doubting and tweaking we will do. The best thing is to send it out. I would love to host you on my blog around third/fourth week of October with a guest post. Will discuss it via email. I'll also tweet and mention your book release on my Twitter and FB.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rachna!!!! I'll send you an email!

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  44. best wishes dear .
    i wish i could be some help too

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  45. Congrats on the upcoming release! Wishing you well with the move too. I agree, we could tweak our work endlessly. Or nearly so. Critique partners are a help to me in this area sometimes.

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen. Critique partners are invaluable.

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  46. Congratulations on the upcoming release! Exciting!

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  47. Thanks for visiting my blog. Congrats on new release. I survive the hurricane and the move, so glad to be back online.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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