Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Puke Factor

I finished the line edit. Chopped 2,500 words. Added maybe 1,000.

Now the manuscript is ready to go out on submission.

But, you might challenge with an outsider's wisdom which, I promise, is much smarter than me: How do you know it is ready?

I have two standards by which I measure readiness:

1.) Anne Lamott's BIRD BY BIRD reference to kneading faces while feeling burned out and rubberized.

2.) The puke factor.

Every other time I finished a draft, it felt good. I'd celebrate draft success but I knew I had TONS more work to do. And I refused to let my neurotic need to send my crappy writing overtake my neurotic need for it to be really good.

Been there. Done that. Hid my face in the sand about it.

But when I finished this draft, I wanted my husband to look at it. And then I wanted to throw up.

That's how I knew it was ready.

What do you know about your writing process? How do you know when you're done?


  1. I like your measure. When the thought of revising one more sentence makes you feel like throwing up.

  2. I wish I had an early warning system like that. I usually send stuff off and then wake up the next day full of ideas that would have made it better. Then I feel sick.