IWSG: Incomplete

This post is part of  the Insecure Writer's Support Group

I’ve been told I’m a completionist. Sometimes it’s said as a complement… sometimes as a criticism. I’m not certain which side of that coin I agree with, but I do think one or the other is right.

When it comes to my books, I think that particular part of my personality is a hindrance. I like things being wrapped up with a nice shiny bow… I like getting all the things done! But when you finish a novel… when it’s published and it’s out there on shelves (physical or digital) it’s never really over. I can’t change them, but by putting it out in the world I’ve given it a new sort of life, one that isn’t entirely dependent on me anymore. I don’t control who reads it, who likes it or hates it. I don’t control who they tell or how or why. Which is fine. Right? I’m still trying to convince the control freak that lives in my brain to stop poking the tender spots left after I throw a book out into the world and pretend that I actually feel like it’s finished.

Maybe someday I’ll get over that. Until then, I’ll be over here in a corner fretting about things that don’t feel complete.


  1. Maybe I'm a completionist too then. I have revised my first novel twice since I first published it. I'd do it over and over again if I could afford it. I'm just trying to persuade myself that it will never be good enough for me, and as I grow as a writer, all my old stuff will make me want to run and hide in shame. I can't keep revising the old, because apart from anything else, it stops me doing anything new. :)

    Here for #IWSG

  2. I hear ya. When friends and family would push me to publish, I'd say, "I have to be sure, because once it's out there, I can't get it back." I think that was the hardest part for me when it came time to push that publish button. But I did it, and I'm feeling better about it now.

    And, of course, there's always the next book... ;)

    IWSG #179 until Alex culls the list again.

  3. Yeah, knowing when done is done is a tough one. I still find things in my published memoir I would change now if I could.

  4. I think I have completionist features... I am persistent to the point of stubbornness and I tend to finish what I start, but I am probably OVERBOARD on the 'well from here it's out of my hands'. I do some stuff, but probably not enough--it's not that I'm not finishing so much as I see the marketing piece as something I have never quite gotten my traction to START. Oh, sure... key is turned in the ignition and my seatbelt is on, but I am afraid to leave my driveway... or know I don't have time to take a whole trip... or something. This metaphor is getting very strained, but I think you get the idea.

  5. This sounds like a nice problem for someone in the IWSG. I wish I shared it. I on the other hand, start projects left and right. Then I struggle for years to finish them. I appreciate what you said about the shiny bow. I guess that's part of my issue as a writer. I want it so tight and neat, it never quite seems done. In that way, I definitely relate to what you've said in this post.


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