• Chris OBrien

Your book is not a puzzle


My brother recently completed a very complex puzzle.


Well... almost completed it. He's missing one pesky little piece.


My brother has two kids, both under five. Right now, they're the two leading suspects in the case of the missing puzzle piece.


When you near the finish line for writing your book, it can feel a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle. There's this feeling if I just get this sentence right, this chapter right, make my closing paragraph perfect, then I'll look down and everything will be perfect. 100%. But, until then, I'm missing a puzzle piece.


But there's never a perfect final point for a book, just like any piece of art. It seems crazy to think but even Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo probably looked at their works and thought, "Crap, I missed a spot."


A year after publishing your book, you'll notice things you want to change. A friend may give you some feedback on things to improve. Five years later you might say, "Man, I was really long-winded. And I can't believe I missed that comma on page 95."


On one end, this can be discouraging. "I'll never reach perfection."


But it can also be extremely freeing for the author. If you're never going to hit 100% perfection in your revisions, then you can ship the book at the 2-year mark and not keep chipping away for another 5-years. You can reach a point where you say, "This is the absolute best I can do right now. Could it be better? Sure. But I have more stories to tell and I can always make a second version of this book years later as I continue to improve as a writer."


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