Throughout the long and sometimes arduous process of writing, revising, assembling, and editing Old Money, New Woman, I was reminded of a key lesson I’ve learned in life…that I keep on learning.
It is this: in order to minimize regrets, always do your best. Every time I was tempted to utter the words ‘good enough’, I’d force myself to circle back around, take another look, edit another sentence, reread another paragraph for clarity.
Writing and publishing a book, unlike many other tasks in life, is very permanent. Once a book is out there, it’s out there. Yes, I can revise and correct digital versions, but for the most part, I have to live with what I’ve written: the compliments and the royalties are all mine. So are the typos, the less than articulate thoughts, and any well-founded criticism that I have to acknowledge as valid.
Those realities add an extra sense of duty. Candidly, I don’t like it when I have to do more work. I have a predisposition to thinking that the first thing that flies off my pen or keyboard is genius. (As a writer, I may not be alone in that perspective.) However, a nagging commitment to excellence pulls me back to earth, and to the manuscript at hand.
It can be better, I finally admit, and go to work from there. So, even if the task at hand isn’t as permanent as a book, it is another brick in the wall. Don’t let down the side.
Do your best. Minimize the regrets.