Freelance Blog + writing

Open Thread: When Do You Say When?

"Art is never finished, only abandoned." ~Leonardo da Vinci Chantal, the blogger behind Writer Abroad, raised an interesting point yesterday: how do you know when you're done writing something? As Chantal points out, math problems have a clear end point. So do soccer games (or futbol games, depending on where you are in the world) or jigsaw puzzles. But like a work of art, a piece of writing is trickier. It's tough to know when to call it quits, especially when it's a piece of writing that's deeply personal. I tend not to have this problem with more mercenary-style writing. I know the client or the editor may rewrite significant portions of my carefully crafted copy, so it's not worth obsessing over. I'll let it marinate for a day or two, give it another read for spelling, grammar, style, and clarity, and send it out into the world, trying not to get too emotionally attached. But with personal essays or memoirs, it can feel like a never-ending cycle of writing, critiquing, and rewriting. I don't have a good answer for Chantal (or myself), but I think letting your work marinate and returning to it later can bring greater clarity and insight. But there's also the need to get it out there and trust that your instincts are right. As one of my favorite writing quotes goes, "don't get it right, get it written." What do you think, fellow writers? How do you know when to say when with your writing? Flickr photo courtesy of Storm Crypt

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Open Thread: When Do You Say When? + writing