I’m asked this question a lot, and the simple answer is, yes, yes, and yes. No manuscript will ever be as perfect as you want it. When reading your work, you will always find another word, another adjective, another thought, which may have sounded better if…
I think that if you don’t doubt yourself—in any aspect of life—you’re not human. Doubt, in my opinion, is what brings on perfection. It drives you to check, recheck, and rethink what you’ve put down on paper. It brings on that dubious gut feeling that makes you think that your manuscript is never good enough, and pushes you to make it as perfect as it can be.
Renowned writers and artists have that doubtful thought kicking around in them just as you do. Because no matter how good you are, it can always be better. I recall reading that Maya Angelou rarely reads her published work. Maggie Smith, the famous and distinguished actor who played the Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey has also said she never watches herself on the screen.
So if you think you’re ready to publish, and suddenly you’re filled with doubt of your manuscript’s flawlessness, embrace it. That uncertainty can only result in you ultimately publishing a novel worthy of your best efforts. And in the end, that’s all that matters.
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