What brought this topic on was that I was revising my new novel’s manuscript last night and I read and re-read one sentence which I knew could be better, but it just wasn’t fixing itself and my brain wasn’t helping. I finally moved on, realizing that I would have to live with that phrase for better or worse. It got me thinking: how many phrases do I accept because I don’t have time to agonize over them anymore? Honestly, more than I’d like it to be.This is the sad reality that I have an indie author – and perhaps others feel the same: I don’t have the luxury of agonizing over every sentence and every word in my novels.
Oh, I could, if I wanted to release new works much less frequently, but the reality of my life comes down to the fact that my writing time per year is extremely regulated by other non-writing realities which actually put food on the table.
Does this mean that I sacrifice quality for quantity? I hope not, but it is a struggle to find the right balance. I’m currently in a writing and publishing cycle where I publish a novel on average of every 8 months. The one I’m releasing this summer will be a full year, but I think my next one won’t take that long to release into the wild.
However, if I were to put time into every sentence and agonize over every word, I would literally have to push back timelines a good six months, and I’m not comfortable with that.
It doesn’t mean I don’t go over and revise every sentence; I do. But each time I read a manuscript different phrasing and new words pop into my mind. Oftentimes I can find a better way to say things or I can at least tweak a sentence to make it better, but do I always find the best and most awesome and amazing prose? No.
If I didn’t have a job, a family, other responsibilities, what could the possibilities be? What type of elevated prose would I be able to produce? (I don’t mean elevated in a stuffy sense. I hate that kind of writing.)
But I keep coming back to the following thought: stay grounded in what I can do, and don’t worry about what I can’t.
Can I write a quality story every 8-12 months given my current situation? Yes. I am grateful that this is possible. Could my novels be better? Well, couldn’t almost every novel be better?