this is it. for now.published: 2013-01-30
“Good enough” is not even the issue. It’s understanding the state of your art. Writing means endless rewriting, and if you’re one of those people who think every sentence you’ve jotted down is a work of genius, then that’s simply the mark of amateurism. Because the truth is: you can rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until you drop dead in the process without ever having shown whatever it is you were rewriting to anyone on earth. Any writer will be tempted to do exactly that: keep going. So does the writer know when it’s good enough? The answer is no. Because it never will be good enough, not for the writer.
And so a piece of writing is done when the writer is sick and tired of it, has literally exhausted herself. This is when the writer is to step back from her words, look at them and say: “this is it. This is the state of my art and what I’m capable of doing right now, at this stage in my life. Perhaps it might be different in five years. But this is it for now.”