Finished ?

When is a book ever really finished?  I cannot tell you the number of times I have used that word in the writing process.  First draft, finished.  Second draft, finished.  Revisions, finished.  Final draft, finished.  As an author, do you ever really feel that your story is finished?

Two years ago I thought I was done with my book Wayward Saint.  I put it on the shelf after many edits and grammar checks.  I pulled the book down after a few months and found problem after problem.  A year later I proclaimed, "Final draft, finished."  I even went as far as to start work on another manuscript.

After I "finished" the first draft on the new manuscript, I decided to read through Wayward Saint again.  Guess what, I found more problems.  But I'll tell you something, I still find problems (at least grammatical) with well known and sometimes older works that I read.

This year I decided I will always find something more to add or take away from a previous book I have written.  But there comes a time when it makes more sense to write the next book and say enough is enough and publish the last one.  If we as authors continually strive to improve our art, we will always find something we could have changed in our past work, in part because we over look things, in part because we have improved beyond what we were when we first wrote past words.

The key, I think, is to keep pressing forward toward perfection, and I stress toward perfection and not to perfection.  There should always be room for improvement.  But what do I know: Wayward Saint was just retitled, Misunderstood.