Home » Writing » When is enough, enough?

When is enough, enough?

Photo by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Photo by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

I was sat down doing my final read out with my mum and sister, and I was saying how I was looking forward to getting these books finished so as I can get them out and go back to writing again. I don’t want to rush them, but I really want them to be done as the amount of edits are taking so long.

Then my mum asks, ‘Are you just editing and editing so as you don’t have to put them out there?’

‘Of course not, I really want to get them out and into the world,’ I scoffed, gave a nervous laugh and then thought, hm, maybe she’s not so wrong.

Am I just editing, doing a read out, editing some more, doing more read outs, all because of my complete nervousness of putting my work out into the world? Some kind of strange procrastination?

I am excited to get my stories out there for people to read, I am incredibly proud of what I’ve produced and I think they are strong stories that I hope people will enjoy. But they’re still my babies, my babies I know that people will be looking over with a critical eye, and my babies that I know there are some people will not enjoy.

And that is a terrifying thought!

I want people to enjoy my books. I don’t need them to change people’s lives, but I do want people to put down the book and think, ‘Yeah, that was a really good read’. And the longer I put off actually getting my work out there, the more I can convince myself that people will think that 😀

I know I’ve talked about being nervous before, but the closer I get to finishing, the worse I get. These are the first books I’ve ever finished, and I put a lot of work and heart into them. It’s scary to know that once they are out there, I have no control over how people view them or what they will think.

But, it’s just another fear I need to overcome. A big one, but one that I will be better for getting over. Yeah, some people may not like them, but others may really enjoy them. How am I going to know unless I put them out there? I’ve got to take the risk to reap the reward.

As I was saying to my mum, part of the worry is that I really want writing to work out as a career for me. I have tried many different things in the past, but writing is something I love with a real passion, and I want to be able to live off of what I produce.

But how will I know until I take the first step.

A career from writing is a very long term plan, and I have got to start somewhere, right?

Saying that, editing is finally drawing to an end and I have only one book left to edit, then it’s just the formatting, blurbs and covers to get up together. The time for the release is really starting to draw near!

Were you nervous about publishing your works? Did you worry what people would think of them? How did you get over those nerves? Any advice?

Progress Report

Publishing status:
> Stolen- Formatting. (Still to do: Cover, blurb, formatting, marketing).
> The Queen’s Jester- Formatting. (Still to do: Cover, blurb, formatting, marketing).
> Third Manuscript- Final edits. (Still to do: Cover, blurb, formatting, marketing).

May E-Book Review: Book read. Review written.

70 thoughts on “When is enough, enough?

  1. Don’t have any advice sorry as you’re way ahead of me lol. But I agree that there just comes a point when you have to decide the dream is more important than the fear. Good luck. You’re so close!

    • Thank you for the encouragement, and I totally agree 😀 There comes a time when you just have to move forwards!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. This is very relatable. The writing process is so personal; for months your stories are yours and yours alone, then suddenly they are out in the world for everyone and anyone to see. I remember the moment I first saw my book available on amazon, I was so nervous I felt sick! Then over the next few days I saw sales coming in and got feedback from people and it was all worth while 🙂

    Go for it! The sense of pride is wonderful and there will be people who happily welcome your stories into their lives 🙂

    • I think it is about getting over that nervousness 😀 Just having someone else look over your story and having no idea what they will think!

      Thank you for the support and encouragement 🙂

      • It’s definitely a difficult time, just try to focus on the excitement more than the nerves! 🙂 I can say with certainty you’ve already got at least one fan eagerly awaiting the books 😉

  3. Whenever I talk to people about writing, the first thing I tell them is that if they can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because you will get criticism and you will get rejected. They are inevitable, and they hurt. A lot.

    The important thing is how you react to any negativity which comes your way. Do you let it knock you, or do you take it and learn from it? If it’s the latter, then you’re on your way.

    If it’s any comfort, putting a book out is far, far easier than putting a screenplay out there. Because in the case of a script, you are actually handing it over to an individual who will rip it to shreds and then tell you how to put it back together. A process which will be repeated until such time as they, not you, are happy.

    Trust me, that’s a tough task!

    • I an imagine that being a hard task 😀 Having someone take yourself and change it to suit!

      I do like criticism, because I want to continue to improve my writing, and the only way to do that is to take advice where it’s given! 😀 It’s just a very nerve-wracking time, I expect it will get easier the more I release books. (At least I hope!)

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  4. I don’t really get nervous about a book/article being published. It makes me giddy to be honest. I know that not everyone will enjoy it, but I know some will. I’m more nervous when waiting to know whether a project is accepted for publication or not. I can get stressed while I work on it once it’s accepted (which is also why I try to start working early so the deadline doesn’t get to scare me).

    • I think I need to have your attitude! I am excited about publishing them, it’s the first step on my career path 😀 But because it’s the first step, the nerves just won’t go away.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  5. It’s hard to write a piece and think it’s awesome, and then have a stranger look at and not feel the same way. I have a stack of rejection letters as proof. That fear is just part of writing. Keep going, don’t let the fear paralyze you into not sending your work out.

    • You’re totally right. Overcoming this fear will in the long run help me keep going forwards. Next time, hopefully, I won’t be as nervous because I will have been there and done that! 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  6. I so relate to the fear. Whenever a piece of mine is accepted for publication, I quickly open the document to read it: what on earth did I write for the whole world to read? I had a great teacher who confessed that fear is his first reaction to publication as well. What helps me the most is to remember the really great writers who everyone admires . . . and I don’t. It’s all a matter of taste. I know you will find folks with the same taste as yours who will enjoy what you have to say.

    • That’s what I’m hoping, that there will be people out there who enjoy what I do, and for a couple of days whilst they read, they can just escape and enjoy 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  7. If you’re anything like me be prepared for extreme terror/nervousness once you hit publish. I think it was almost 48 hours before my crazy eyes went away and I could accept the fact that other people were reading my book.

  8. We all live by our own personal experiences. Convincing yourself that no matter what you do there are going to be some who are not going to be satisfied is helpful. Even some who will be insulted. Just go to Amazon and read anybody’s negative reviews, especially for books you felt where stellar and you will see. I didn’t truly feel that I understood that until I got my first not so good review. It bit. Hard. Then I was like. Okay you…sorry I couldn’t make you happy, but look how many people I DID make happy.

    My current work has a few controversial characters…that alone, opens me to risk of poor reviews, no matter how good the writing. Being genre fiction does too. Because people have an expectation of the formulaic style of genre fiction. And that varies from individual to individual.

    Get the proofing and editing done. Get like YOU enjoy it. Then just let those babies fly!

    • Thank you for the advice, I definitely need it. Reviews are great when they’re helpful. I don’t mind when people post negative reviews and I would encourage it, as long as they live the reason WHY they didn’t like it. It might help me to improve. It’s just those people being horrible for the sake of being horrible that worry me 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  9. I haven’t actually gotten anything ready to send out yet, but I’ve been anxious about it since the moment girlfriend and I realized we were writing a novel, not just playing around.

    The way I’ve handled it is by telling myself upfront that people are going to hate it. That’s totally fine. I’ve read things I’ve hated, but that hasn’t stopped the author from being successful. The thing that keeps me going is this:

    If only one person, just one person, reads my story and likes it, then that one person is reason enough to try.

    And then I let it go. I don’t further justify the thought, or what if it to death, or dwell on it in any other way. I just tell myself that one Maybe is reason enough to try, and I keep working.

    • You know, that is a really great and positive way to approach it! I think I am going to have to adopt that mentality 😀 I am terrible at going over everything and worrying about it until my head’s about to explode! So taking a step back and seeing things from your way really might help.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  10. I don’t think it’s such a strange type of procrastination. I put mine off for 3 years before I finally started the self-publishing process. I guess I finally got to the point where my desire to have the book “out there” was greater than my fear that people would not find it to be a “good read.” Best to you – you will get there!

  11. Hey, pussyfootin’ gets to the best of us. Sometimes, you kinda have to force yourself to just *do* it already (I know I did), but Lord forbid you put it out there without it being ready first. It’s certainly a precarious balance. Either way, whether you rise or fall, I think you have some spectacular support behind you (to include myself). You’ll be fine – and so will your babies hehe.

    • I do have a great amount of support, and I couldn’t have got as far as I have without my family, friends and all the bloggers and writers who have given advice and pitched in 😀 The writing community is an incredible place to be part of!

      Thank you for your encouragement 🙂

  12. When I published mine, I was so eager to hold a copy of *my* book in *my* hands, I didn’t take the time to think of the scarier points of publishing. Plus, I’m a firm believer of getting the worst over with fast – like ripping off a band-aid. It hurts for a minute, then you can forget about it!

    Also, my editor friend (who also helped edit my books) said that as a writer – and a creator – you will edit, adjust, add, and change your story indefinitely. There is no real stopping point – at least, until you publish. Even then, you might read your book and think to yourself, “Darn. I could have done this, or added this scene.”

    My point? Yes, you’re probably over-editing due to nervousness. However, you can rest easier knowing that you aren’t the only author out there who does that. Just take a deep breath and take the plunge!

    (On a side note: I can’t wait to read your stuff! I hope you’ll put links up when they’re available!)

    • Ripping off a band aid is good analogy, once I finally put them out there, I bet something else will come up to distract me and I will wonder why on Earth I was being so paranoid! 😀

      I definitely will put up links, thank you for the encouragement!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  13. great post. I am like you i am still editing the first book but i have decided to cut the apron strings and push the firt baby out by hte end of the year.. LOL Goodluck!

    • It is a big step making that decision, and it’s amazing how much work is involved before actually getting to put your work out into the world! 😀 All worth it in the end though.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  14. Great post! I’m guilty of that sort of twisted procrastination, too, but realizing it is half the battle, I think. And knowing you’ve put in the work and done everything you can to polish your stories and make them shine is something to be proud of! Congratulations and best of luck! I’ll put your work on my TBR list 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement and support 😀 I think once I actually push them out the door and into the big wide world, I will feel much better. I just got to get to that point first!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  15. That’s awesome that your books are so close to being ready to publish! I think all authors experience the nervousness, and I wish there was an easy way to get rid of it. But it sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time on your books and I’m sure they’re fantastic!

    • I hope they’re fantastic, I certainly want them to be 😀 I just want them to be of a great high quality, and that if people don’t like the book, it’s not due to anything like grammar, or story flow, but that it’s just their personal opinion.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  16. This is so timely for me. I have no advice– I’m going to be releasing my first book into the wild next month, and the thought terrifies me. But it’s time. Deep breaths…

    Best of luck to you with it!

    • I’m hoping to release at the end of the month, so I definitely know how you feel! 😀 It’s scary, exciting and just a great moment. Good luck with your release, I will keep an eye out for Bound when it comes out!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  17. I’ve published a few and I’m still nervous about putting them out there. My greatest fear is publishing them and then the first reviewer picking up something I completely missed and telling the world about it. Keep editing for as long as you like and when you feel confident that they have been read enough (by your family and others through the process) go for it! 😀

    • That is my worry too, that someone might pick up my book and not understand or miss something completely. Then, if they review it that way, that it might put others off. But I guess those are all ‘what if’ scenarios that I need to stop freaking about 😀

      Thank you for your encouragement and comment 🙂

  18. Have you had anyone else read it other than mum and sister. This is a terrifying but very useful step. Just a warning, choose your readers wisely

    • Yeah, I am very lucky to have a friend who has helped someone else go through the publishing process. He also doesn’t read romance in general, so he’s great at picking out a lot of other things that I might miss because of the romance 😀 Definitely great to have readers who look for a variety of different things.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  19. Great post on editing your books, great questions. I edited the ‘heck’ out of my books before I published them, and that includes going through a critique group, sending out to a dozen readers, editing again, and then again (about a dozen times, at least). And yes, it’s still incredibly scary, hitting the ‘finish’ button. But we have to let the book go at some point. I have a couple of writer friends who have been editing their books for literally years. I don’t think the books are better for it after a year of editing/proofing, but in fact, they become different books! Perhaps writers should set a limit on how many edits they do – and then be brave and go for it.

    • You have a good point, at some time you have to stop editing before it stops being the story you originally wrote. It’s daunting to reach that point of letting go, but it has to be done in order to move forward 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  20. I’m afraid I’m in the same boat as you right now. I’m still editing and re-editing, trying to get them all perfect before I start querying. But I’m glad to know others do the same thing. 🙂 Best wishes! 😀

  21. That finishing process must be twice as hard for self-publishing. You don’t have someone telling you “yes, now these books are done”. I couldn’t even imagine reaching that point with my own work. I think something can ALWAYS be improved. But I’m sure your books will be great. I’ll definitely read them 🙂

    • Yeah, when it’s up to you to decide when the books are ready, it can be daunting 😀 But then, I chose self-publishing path to be in control of my own work, now I just have to actually do it!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  22. I do think the editing is vitally important. For me, I am so excited, sometimes I send something off before it has been finished. It is worth being patient… that is hard, but worth it, as sometimes coming back fresh, you see things more clearly. Wishing you great success!

    • Editing is definitely a process you have to be patient on! 😀 I am glad I left my books for a few weeks and came back to them, it was amazing how much I had learned during that time that I could apply to the edits of my books.

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  23. I know where you are coming from… I’m just like you. I keep telling myself I’m not quite ready yet. My third novel is the one which is going to be completely finished and put out there. It’s kind of like putting your toe in the water and saying ‘well, I’m nearly there.’ My short stories are my toe in the water and my 3rd novel is going to be letting go of the side and swimming out into the deep end. At some point, you really need to go for it. My time has come. 🙂 What about you let go and see what happen next, Harliqueen.

    • Great way to think about it 😀 I think I am definitely going to be letting go, and just hope I can swim through everything that comes after!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

      • My pleasure, Harliqueen. Thank you for dropping by my blog too. You should go for it, after all we write to be read otherwise we are only doing half a job as a writer. 🙂

  24. That’s one of the curses of the author’s life; you could edit forever, and still never have a book that’s ‘finished’. There’s no real end point to editing, there’s always something else that could be improved. There is such a thing as over-editing, though, going over it so much that a lot of the charm and feeling you imbued when you were originally writing it, when everything was new and fresh to you, is lost. There’s going to be a point where you start getting diminishing returns from your editing, and it’s all up to you to realize where that point is, and where would be a good point for you to stop and get it out there.

    • Very true and a good point. I’m finishing up edits now (finally!) with only one to go. I think I could edit forever 😀 But I got to let them go at some point!

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  25. I know exactly what you mean. It’s always easy to write the story, but the editing process can really get to me. I never know when enough is enough. I want to have a successful writing career, like you, so I don’t want details such as grammar, sensibility, and so forth to become a hindrance in my work. However, I am starting to realize that there can always be something to edit, no matter how big or small. As long as you gave your stories good thought, having others read over, edit, and offer feedback, you have a strong story to send out to the world. One thing I always believe, is that, there is an audience for a well thought out story–there will always be others who will enjoy it.

    • Story is a matter of opinion I think, and some people will like it and some people won’t. But, if no one can complain about my grammar, spelling, etc then at least that would be a good start 😀

      Thank you for the encouragement and comment 🙂

  26. I was a nervous wreck when I published my poetry collection last year. I made sure to send it to 2 people that I knew would be great ad Beta readers and edited like a crazy person. However, just like with real kids, there comes a time when we have to step back and let them go out on their own.

    I did it by setting a date, announcing to everyone that it was coming (so I’d have people holding me accountable), ripped off the band aid (so to speak) and let fly. After a few weeks, I could breath easy again.

    You can do this! Start marketing your book now so that people know it’s coming. But only release it when you are comfortable enough. Don’t rush it. You’ll do well.

  27. Harliqueen, how many other people have seen your books (apart from close family, of course)? Unless you have already done so, you should post them on a creative writing site and get comments from writer colleagues.

    • I am very lucky to have a friend who knows his editing stuff and has helped another person get their book published as part of his job 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  28. This is something I’ve been contemplating myself with the one I feel is FINALLY ready for the world to see (“Puck’s Choice”). It is something I’ve asked myself over and over again. Is it ready? Am I just too scared to release it? Because you are right. As soon as you release your baby upon the world, there are those who will judge it with a critical eye and look for the smallest tidbit wrong. I don’t think there’s ever going to be a matter where you get over that. (I’ve had this feeling before.) It’s just a matter of pushing yourself over the edge and finding out – maybe even from your novel itself – when it’s ready for the world to see.

    • You’re exactly right. I think self-doubt will always nag, and you have to force yourself to push past that and put yourself out there. No reward ever comes without risk 😀

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

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