A while ago I posted about the importance of deadlines and the effect they have on us as we go about our lives but there’s another thought that grew from the deadline I’ve been working against recently.
With or without a deadline, how do you know when you’re finished?
As a writer, my style could be described as ‘Blitzkrieg’. I tend to write off in a direction aiming for a specific point and I end up getting there pretty quickly. I then have to go back and flesh out what I’ve just done to create the wider detail, the true heart of what I was saying. I blast off and try to go as far as I can then hang the pretty colours on the skeleton. If I was to finish the book using just the first half of that process it’s likely that it would be nothing more than ‘he did this’ then ‘he did that’. But at what point do you recognise that the story is done? Where is the point before which, it’s still in need of tinkering yet after, you’re over thinking and making things worse?
I’ve heard the phrase that ‘films aren’t released, they escape’ and it applies exactly to other media as well. I spent years fiddling with the first book before it was actually released. Every so often I’d have another read through and find another word or phrase, or indeed, scene, which I felt needed work. Ultimately these weren’t major structural changes, more like choosing the right type of polish, but it dragged me back from actually doing the business.
I suspect that this has come from my fears surrounding the release. I’ll continuously be thinking about the possible permutations in the book but it’s going to have to run free eventually. I suspect if I hadn’t just decided to bite the bullet and go for it, I’d still be fiddling with it now.
At least that isn’t happening this time.
And on a totally unrelated matter, the poor guys from the electricity company are back out in our street. They’re not working near us this time so we’ve had no issues with interrupted power but this will be the third time that unlucky team have had to deal with issues in our street. There can’t be much old wiring left!