This last week has been quite emotional. Having uploaded, and then uploaded again with some corrections the fear still exists that things were missed. In fact on checking the new copy I found some small formatting errors in the first couple of chapters. It would appear that the process of self-publishing continues to be a complex and frustrating one.
There is so much to be considered particularly in the marketing process. Can I market if there are things to address? I ended up feeling quite confused about the whole thing, and couldn’t helping wondering how many of you out there find yourself in the same predicament. You want to do the best you possibly can but how many times can you do it before reaching perfection? Does perfection exist? For writers this is a constant problem. How many edits do you do? And even then, I am sure there is something that needs changing.
It reminded me of the dilemma most of us entertain when getting ready for a special occasion or a first date. What impression will you make if your shoes are scuffed, is the neckline too low, should you let the tattoos show on first meeting? It doesn’t matter how secure you think you are because human nature will take over and have you questioning what to do, or not do. It spoils the excitement. I should know because excitement has not been the overriding emotion for me as I spend my time looking for more to correct, and looking for a better way to present the book, and just looking. Striving to do the best is an honourable goal but burnout is a constant threat if we become obsessed.
Two blogs I have read this week however have had me thinking. The first discussed losing the focus not because you don’t know your stuff, but because you are over-concerned with it. I suddenly understood I had become over-concerned with my work to the point of obsession. The other post came from a blog by Jessica Abel. In this instance the post dealt with tidiness, or lack of when you surround yourself with too much for whatever reason. Thinking too much about the corrections, about reviews, about what people are thinking, about how I expressed myself, and should I be correcting every time I find something had me so bogged down I came to a standstill in my life.
How many times should an author up-load or more to the point, how often? If you’re not careful then everywhere “you set your eyes, you see “to do,” which leads you to fragment your attention and energy. Not-deciding leads to overwhelm, and may cause you to shut down as if you’ve had an allergic reaction.” The post had me step back and remind myself why I started the things I am doing. I wanted to be a writer. It is hard. This is the reason why it has taken me so long. Writing this blog is hard, coming up with ideas and then worrying about whether I have written it well is energy and soul consuming. I have to be realistic about what is achievable. It is the trying for perfection that is important, and not the reaching of it.
Let’s be practical, perfection is not stable because every day new ways to improve things come into existence. Last week I spent intense and long periods of time thinking too hard about too many things. I was so tired I was drowning. This week as per the hints on tidying I discarded what could wait so I could deal with one thing at a time. I considered whether this sparked joy. It did. It had me concentrating on like-minded people and what they do. I needed to get out and away for a short time and my improved attitude led me to a very interesting and enjoyable experience.
It seems your frame of mind has great impact on your actions. I happened to walk past a dress store at Castletown Shopping Centre and was drawn in by the atmosphere where I found like-minded people. Although a totally different art form I found a connection. Textile Collective (Emerging Designers) are a group of very talented locals who have banded together. Their work is quite amazing. Like me they started with very little except ideas and a desire to do more than dream. They restored my energy.
I haven’t forgotten that more changes may be necessary in the novel but I have given it respectful dismissal until I have more feedback to work with. In the meantime I will tackle the easy stuff first. I know how to do that so stress is minimal so I can do some nice folding. I know it sounds strange but it makes sense. Remember we are talking about tidying. Neat things represent a lack of obstacles. This allows you to picture your future without crazed obsessions getting in the way.
The irony here is that my novel is called Unexpected Obsession. Self-fulfilling prophecy? Definitely not because Nico’s obsession is so much more romantic and dare I say, sexier. I hope you think so.
Sorry, couldn’t resist a shameless plug for the book but I waited till the end.
Perfection is such an endlessly messy state to get yourself into – there is no end, and the dreaded worry about whatever it is being ‘good enough’. Messy. You’re right, it’s so much tidier stepping back and that space allows you to truly create.
Great blog & I like your shameless plug 😉 .