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When is It "good enough?" : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

When is It "good enough?"

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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atwhatcost
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When is It "good enough?"

Postby atwhatcost » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:07 pm

I was just reading another thread where someone said he didn't think his writing is ever good. He's published numerous times. :shock:

Well, okay, I get that I'll never think my writing is good, but can folks who've published give me any hints on when they reached that moment when they thought, "It's good enough. Time to publish"?

I think I'm there, or, at least close, but the thought that authors never think they're good just shriveled me down a few notches. (I bet it doesn't help that I picked out the agent I want and the publisher I want her to sell my novel too.)
Lynn

Working on my first novel.

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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby MatthewTM » Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:05 pm


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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby mammamaia » Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:33 am

i'd been a nit-picky editor since editing my high school paper for 3 years, so decades later, when i'd nit-picked my own work to the point where i could find nothing left to nit-pick, i knew it was ready to be sent out into the cold, cruel publishing world...
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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:37 pm


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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby atwhatcost » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:25 pm

Yes, it was you James. I didn't want it to look like I was calling you out. You just made me shrivel down a bit. I kind of thought, eventually, I'd think I was good. Descent would be nice.

And, I'm not Heinlein and never will be. That's not a comment on style or ability, (although I know he goes far beyond merely good.) If I could become a professional writer, I could also get a job, or simply work. I'm a part-timer every which way you look at it. I'm disabled in such a way that I can't do much of anything for more than three hours a day, and never all together.

Fortunately, writing MG novels makes it faster, since it's only 40,000 +/- words. (I swear about 70% of those words have changed since the first draft. :oops: )

I know I have to let it go, but first I have to make a query that fits the story, (which now seems harder than writing the whole story.) And, in my case, my one-chapter-at-a-time critiquers really did help, so I know I'm not up to snuff with my own skill yet. I am as blind as a stone when it comes to seeing if what I write makes sense to anyone but me.
Lynn

Working on my first novel.

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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby sophiakortig » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:32 pm


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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby LucisPixel » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:45 am

Under perfect circumstances I think its "good enough" when you have communicated your message. When you have compiled your thoughts and crafted your vision of what you want to say and then you read it and when you get to the end if you feel a feeling of satisfaction with what you wrote for that time period in your writing career you are writing good enough. I think this gets at are you writing what you enjoy reading. When I write I write what I want to read. I have cried reading my writing. I prefer reading my writing over other writing more than anything because I understand so much more about what went into my writing.

Are you writing what you want to read? When you have finished writing your piece and you read back over it ... are you satisfied. Do you give yourself a feeling of satisfaction reading your own writing because if you do then it is good enough. It is good enough for you. Now when it comes down to if its good enough for someone else that's another conversation entirely. Reading is subjective and a lot of people are looking to read something that satisfies them. If you have a lot of like minded people interested in what you are interested in or if you have stumbled upon an undercurrent of the collective subconscious mind of a lot of people that take the time to read your writing you will satisfy a lot of other people and it will be good enough for them as well.

Is your writing good enough for you. When you finish reading your work are you satisfied with it because if you are then its good enough. What is this enough? What is this good? For who? The question at hand is for who. Writing that you find good enough for you can be a quick sketch of a story idea or the beginning of a story that you save on your drive and move on to something else and then good enough for someone else means its polished and then in this internet age good enough can mean making someone laugh or making someone feel something.

I try and stay true to the concept for myself that good enough is when it makes someone feel something. If you can take a sheet of paper. Craft some Alphanumeric Glyphs on it and then when someone foreign i.e. not you scans over those glyphs and they feel something that you intended for them to feel. If you can transfer a thought or an emotion or even better both through symbols then you are writing what I would consider good enough.

Its when you have the grammar and the rules of writing down to a subconscious level and your mind and your typing skills are in sync and your inner monologue and your hands are in sync and you can just flesh out your thoughts whenever you want and the interest factor becomes about high level concepts such as am I conveying the right message or is this the emotion I want to share. What is the great work you want to craft and then do you feel you successfully hit the notes in your writing that you wanted to hit. Was the color or your prose the right color? Did you make yourself feel something, did you learn something about yourself?

These are the things that come into my mind when I think of good enough.

Good enough is different for a new author writer than it is for an experienced one.

When you have your writing down to a subconscious level and you can just create this mind meld between your hands and your mind then its at that point for me that I begin to wonder what direction do I want to go in? What universe do I want to create and explore? What message can I craft that will touch people and be an approachable critique on society or observation?

Its the high level concepts that for me dictate good enough but for someone just getting started it might be about the rules of grammar and understanding conversation or dialogue in a story.

Good enough goes hand in hand with skill level in my experience.
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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:39 pm


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Re: When is It "good enough?"

Postby atwhatcost » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:36 pm

I was only rejected once. Even then, the editor told me, "Good article, but we're not approaching this topic in the foreseeable future. Try back in one or two years."

But, that was in my days of writing articles for specialty magazines. How bummed could I get because she didn't want my article on the thorn in Paul's side? How bummed could I get if someone didn't want an article on how to fix the Y2K bug in small business computers? How bummed could I get if no one wanted my article on keeping the Internet Free? I learned what I wanted to learn before writing those articles, so it wouldn't bother me if no one else was interested.

A novel is different. This is my heart and soul going into this, what I have to share with readers.

I know I have to find the write agent on the right day. Then I have to have that agent pitch it to the right publisher on the right day. What if it's not good enough?

I think that is my biggest fear, but I also can't see what isn't clear in my own writing. I see every ragged hole in the tent, every divot in the field, and every character vividly, but I can't see why critiquers can't see it as easily. (A phrase can mean two things, and they pick the meaning I didn't intend or considered. I thought they'd see the scene soon enough, but they felt disconnected. They couldn't get why it matters that it's in Philadelphia. I don't get why they can't accept it is because I want it in the city I know so well.)

It was easier to write, when I wasn't worried it might never be accepted.
Lynn

Working on my first novel.


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