‘When is it ready?’ is the ultimate question for anyone trying to create something, be it a song, a painting, a sculpture made entirely of bread-sticks, or even a story.
The answer to this is: never. That’s right. Nothing is every finished, but it can be ‘good enough’. Everything you’ve ever absorbed through whatever media has been pushed out because it’s ‘good enough’, not because it’s done in the eyes of the creator.
That sounds really cynical – but let me explain. There are countless writers out there writing and rewriting stories that will never see the light of day. Editing is vital, obviously, but I have to wonder whether in these cases the writer simply doesn’t want to let go of their creation. It’s like being an over protective parent – you have to let your baby grow up and go out into the world. That child has to make mistakes in order to become better – a story has to be exposed to the eyes of strangers in order for the author to learn from it.
Why am I talking about this? Because Death Echo: Vol.1 was an exercise in getting something out there. It was also an exercise in editing, which was helped by the relatively low word count of each story. I couldn’t have gotten through it without all the people who came forward to test-read my work.
Vol.2 is a different beast. Having listened to feedback I wanted to make the stories longer – not massively so, just a little meatier. This has slowed the process down, and getting beta-readers will be vital in order to create the story collection I envision.
The worst thing I could do is release a volume with shoddy stories. I mustn’t let my eagerness result in a bad product, but I also don’t want to sit on my hands and delay!
Essentially when we create something we have three options –
- Keep working on it endlessly and never show another living soul (it’s important knowing when to let go!)
- Release it too soon and risk a bad response (All confidence and no restraint is generally a bad move – patience is key.)
- Work on it to the best of your ability and then have the courage to share it (This one. Do this one.)
It’s a balancing act between all three even at the best of times. I can honestly say that sharing my work has helped a huge amount. To share something is to show courage. To improve upon something is wise. To love the (sometimes painful) process is liberating.
Your story may never be ready – but you can be.