City Wendy gives advice on how to really raise a writer, which involves lessons such as:
Move A LOT. Every year if possible. That way, your child will never maintain a sense of stability or the chance to make lasting friendships, which will leave her with nothing but books and her own imagination for company and security. Also, she’ll always feel like a complete misfit and loner, which, guess what, = great writing!!
Sounds good to me. On the other hand, I’m a loner by birth. No lessons necessary.
Holly Black also discusses pushing your writing up to the next level:
But what I find that I need more and more—and need to learn how to do—is a critique that pushes fiction to that next level, that wow level. Like Cecil’s admonishment to “look for your inner rage and inner perv,” critiquing a competant story is all about seeing its cracktastic potential and about having standards that are higher than good. And it’s about finding the great parts of a story and pushing the rest of the it toward those parts.
I could not agree more, but it is a hard thing – and it can be very frustrating when you’re looking at your own story, trying to push and push, feeling like you’re on the edge of something great and not quite reaching it. At some point, though, you just need to let go. Accept the fact that maybe, at this point in your writing life, you’ve hit the edge of what you’re capable of – but that by the next book, or the book after that, you’ll have hit another level. Growing, growing, gone.
And there’s another bad thing about not letting go: the danger of becoming an overly fixated perfectionist who rewrites everything until the story loses whatever essential spark it had in the first place. Might be great writing, but it will have lost all soul. I put “overthinking” into the same category.
Let go, let go, let go. That’s the advice I must constantly give myself.