#IWSG: When do you say, “Hit the road, Jack,” to the manuscript?

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG will be Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!


What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? My first, The Guardian’s Wildchild, was published in 2011. After only three rejections and a bit of advice from my mentor, Candas Jane Dorsey, Omnific Publishing accepted my manuscript. What a ride!

Hit The Road Jack

1-mosqueOkay, I’ve got a question for you, my lovely authors. After you published your novel (self or traditional), did you wish you had spent more time editing, and/or building characters and scenes?

I’m going over each piece of Forbidden in detail, D – E – T – A – I – L!!!

A thought hit me the other day. If I spend another month on massaging Forbidden, will it make any real difference to the reader, get me better reviews? Maybe. Or, am I just avoiding the hard work of writing the next novel?

An embryo of a sequel, Forgotten, is demanding nurturing. I’m not the sort who can write more than one book at a time. I can’t even read more than one at a time. Did you know when your manuscript was as good as you can make it? When is it time to tell the manuscript, “Hit the road, Jack.”?


19 thoughts on “#IWSG: When do you say, “Hit the road, Jack,” to the manuscript?

  1. Hi,
    First, congratulations on getting your first piece sold and published.
    Now to your question, when is enough, enough. To be honest, I don’t really know. For me, it is when I noticed that I am no longer loving the my manuscript but beginning to dislike it, bordering on hatred. That’s let me know that I am finished or that I need to put it aside and work on something else when I think it is not finished. I truly believe that we all recognize when enough is enough but we hesitate because we strive for a perfection that doesn’t exist.
    Shalom aleichem,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patgarcia: Oh, yes, that nasty of all nasties – the hunt for perfection. You’re so right. It doesn’t exist, not at least in the way we think of perfection. I recall the phrase – “in the mind of the beholder ….” Thank you, my dear.


  2. When I get to the point where I’m just tweaking word choices, then I know it’s done. Sure, if I go back to the manuscript later on, I’ll see more things I think I should change. That’s part of growing as an author. Sounds like it’s time to move on to another story. You’ll learn more by working on a new project than by endlessly revising your current one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, another friend told me something similar. Start working on the next, if only just for the fun of it. I’m a panster and I absolutely get a rush in starting a new novel. I let the story tell me what’s next, who is who. It’s like an Alice in Wonderland experience. However, this time I’ve been thinking of leaning a bit more towards being a planner. While it’s fun to be a panster, I find that my rewrites end up being a lot of work because the first draft needs a ton of deletes; the muse gets crazy, LOL. Thanks for the advice, Sandra.


  3. Hi – I’m one of the co-hosts for this month’s IWSG and popped over to say hi 🙂

    That’s fantastic that you published your very first piece of writing! You raise a really good question about when enough is enough. When you’re putting something out there for all to read, I imagine it can be difficult to let go and move onto the next project. Not sure what the answer is, but it’s great food for thought. Cheers – Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ellen: I’m getting a lot of great ideas and advice. It occurred to me that since I’m self-publishing, I do have the freedom to ‘fix’ things after I hit the ‘publish’ button – though I’d rather it be perfect (ugh, that word again) once it goes public.


    1. Hi Nicki: Yep, most of it is small things. However, there have been a few spots that did need more depth. Yesterday, I completed those areas. It feels so right now. It’s a matter of trusting our gut, isn’t it. Thanks, Nicki


  4. Feather, I know you’ve been working on this story for some time. I say it’s time to let it fly! It will never be perfect, nor will every reader love it. But if you feel satisfied, it’s time.


    1. Ah, yes. I have read many novels that I couldn’t finish just because of editing issues. Perhaps that’s what is making me nervous. I’ve been really critical of other authors. I hope to not tick off readers for the same reasons. Thanks, Alex.


  5. It’s so difficult to know when to let go! I have a book on submission to publishers now and one bit of feedback we got was great. I immediately wanted to go into the manuscript and revise the whole thing! The smart thing is to wait on patterns of feed back, but it’s still hard to have your work out there in general being picked apart.

    Here’s my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Stephanie: Feedback is gold. But with a grain of salt, I find. When a beta reader criticized an area in my manuscript and advised to cut it, I stepped back and did a rethink. Perhaps it didn’t need to be cut so much as reworked (reworded) to bring more clarity, or better continuity with the scene, or whatever. I hope you kept your good ideas and didn’t revised the whole thing. Did you?


  6. I have a few criteria for when to know it’s done. First, someone besides me says it’s typo-free. I never do this part but I should. Even if it’s not mistake free, you should think it is. Second, you have to have fulfilled your vision for the story/novel. If the vision changed part way through, make sure there is a vision and then see that it’s followed through. Lastly, no book is done without a great title. Well, that’s what I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh gosh, that question makes me twitchy! I’m not ready yet on any of my books and do regret the first time I self-published something because – and I’m not just being neurotic – it really wasn’t ready. Now, I wish I’d ignored the head of the writing group I was in at the time who was like “oh, just publish it and see what happens.” It really, really needed more revision. I’ll let you know when I get there with any of my books. I have had a short story published recently and after warring (a little bit, in my head) with the editor – it helped tremendously to have a professional say “it’s ready.” And mean it. And I agreed – if nothing else – because they really put it through the wringer. As she pointed out repeatedly, it was a painful experience but in the end – trust her – I’d be happier for it, and she was so right about. Eventually, I was much happier for it. Eventually. I get the other side of the coin, about not being paranoid or afraid to put yourself out there, but I’d much rather write well than write quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ahtdoubsette: You are so correct; write well than write quickly. My downfall in everything I do is to do it quickly. I sewed a skirt for myself about a hundred years ago. I was so excited. The material was gorgeous and the pattern was simple enough for me. However ……. I ruined it. That’s me, and I’ve accepted that in some cases my rushing works (as a paramedic, it was vital); but most everything needs attention to detail and avoid the short cuts. Good luck on your achieving your dreams. Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

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