Once I wrote a novel for 10 years. I wrote it at varying degrees of productivity, but still, I doggedly persisted until the bitter end. The end was, in fact, quite bitter. Because even though I finished the book, it was hopelessly flawed. I had written and then re-written each sentence over and over as I went so that by the time I got to the end, it didn’t match up with the beginning. The book didn’t work as a whole.
On the upside, I did craft some really stellar sentences.
I never sent it out.
More recently, I finished another novel. This one only took six years. (In fairness to my timelines here, it should be noted that I had a baby during each of these novel spells.) I wrote this one all at once in a horribly messy draft to figure out the story. Then I went back and rewrote another draft. Sent it to writing friends. Rewrote. Sent it to writing friends again. Rewrote. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s gone through no fewer than 14 drafts total. And still, now that I’m “done”, which is maybe more to say ready to move on, I don’t really want to send it out.
It isn’t perfect.
But in looking back to my first imperfect novel, I wish I’d had the audacity to send it to a few agents anyway. Because why not? And that’s what I’m telling myself now.
Is my novel perfect? No. But I’ve taken it as far as I can and I think it’s good. And if done is better than good, then isn’t good better than perfect?
Today I sent it to an agent.