February marks the sixth month of revisions to my urban fantasy novel, No Peace for the Damned. I can feel that I’m on the home stretch, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know the end is near (insert whichever cliché you prefer), so now I find myself in dangerous, unfamiliar territory – I just want to get it done.
This past week, I wrote two new chapters and submitted them to my agent for review. But even as I hit the ‘send’ button, I knew that something just wasn’t right with the new scenes. It was a little something, like a nagging at the back of my mind, but enough that I knew these new chapters were somehow … off.
So why did I send them in? If I was so certain that my work wasn’t the way it should be, why did I even bother with the submission? Answer: because I just wanted to get it done. After days of frustrated rewrites, I convinced myself that the chapters were fine. Maybe not perfect, but (gulp) good enough.
Of course I couldn’t sleep that night after I sent them in. I kept seeing the new scenes, again and again, feeling the blacked-out moments where the scene was lacking. By the next night the self-loathing kicked in. What was wrong me? How could I have lowered my expectations of myself to send in something that I knew wasn’t at the quality I wanted?
Answer again: I just wanted to get it done.
Sitting down and forcing myself to write is necessary more times than not. (A reality for any writer.) If I want to get the book done, then I have to find the time to finish it. But after this past week I realize it is more than that. I have to find the time to finish it the way it deserves to be finished. No short cuts. No ‘good enough’.
I woke up this morning with the revelation that had eluded me for two weeks. I realized which pieces were missing, added them, then resent the chapters (with a lovely email apologizing to my agent for flooding her inbox with the same chapters over and over).
I know there will be more revisions, more edits (line edits if nothing else), but that’s okay. Sprinting the last mile of this marathon isn’t going to get me across the finish line any faster. All its going to do is cramp my style:)