Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: Writing – How Do You Know When You’re Done?

Finally. The end of the first part. Uh yay!

So, how do we know when we’re done?

“I think my students believe that when a published writer finishes something, she crosses the last t, pushes back from the desk, yawns, stretches, and smiles.” ~p. 93

Well, ms. Lamott, that’s what I do every time I finish correcting my students’ works.

“What happens instead is that you’ve gone over and over something so many times, and you’ve weeded and pruned and rewritten, and the person who reads your work for you has given you great suggestions that you have mostly taken–and then finally something inside you just says it’s time to get on to the next thing.” ~p. 93

Really? Really, that’s it?

Then she gave us this illustration about how it probably feels similar like trying to put an octopus to bed. You want to make sure that you’ve folded all the tentacles neatly, yet somehow, “another long sucking arm breaks free.”

I understand this feeling though. Whenever I’m done with my writing, I feel like I just wanna reread it for the thousandth times, and even after I knew that there’s nothing more I could do, add, reduce, or even changed, I would still reread it. Then I sent it to a writing competition, or newspaper, or magazine.

And wait.

Urrrrggghhh, why there isn’t any reply yet??

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Laksmi

An MA student at Waseda University, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyo, Japan. An avid reader. A language geek as well. And a book hoarder.

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