Wanting to change everything?!

The Antithesis has been done for over six months now. It has some solid fans who look forward to a chapter each week. A chapter a week should be easy to accomplish, given that the story is already done and sitting in my documents.


Unfortunately, this isn't turning out to be the case. Several days before the next installment release, I try to do a once-over to make sure the chapter is concise, solid, etc.


Instead, I read the first three sentences and think, "Uh. No. I need to rewrite this entire thing." So, what should have been roughly an hour of editing turns into approximately FOUR rewriting the entire chapter.


Does this happen to anyone else?


I've been coming to realize every piece of work I end up doing, I reread later and want to rewrite it. Is this some kind of perfectionist complex? I'm horrified that one day I'll look back at the chapter entries on my website and regret posting them. Hopefully someone knows what I mean. I get kind of worried that I won't appreciate my stuff later on, especially since I worked pretty hard on it.


It's perfectly normal. You're coming to it with fresh eyes, and so you notice the errors and problems more.


This is good. You want it to be as strong as possible when you post it. Since you now know you'll be rewriting each chapter try to schedule for that instead of just a polish.


And yeah, it's possible you will look back and think "wth did I think that was good for?" at some point. Rejoice, it means you're improving as a writer.


And anyway if the readers enjoy it does what you think of it actually matter?


I suppose you're right.


I guess I'd just like to enjoy my stuff some day. This has been ritualistic of me since I started writing (10 years ago) and really messes with my self-esteem.


But since you said it's perfectly normal, I feel better.


It's called editing (as opposed to proofreading type edits). This is a desirable instinct, and like Shutsumon said, you should allocate appropriate time to it and go for it ;-)


Yeah. I've started doing that. However, I'm worried that it's not a 'writing' issue so much as a "mood" issue. I have the unfortunate luck of writing certain ways according to my mood. It's beautiful, brilliant, perfect when I write it because at the time I'm in that mode, but when I come back to it later while no longer feeling that way I look at it and no longer like it.


It's especially hard in the Antithesis because I've created a character in first person POV, and this character -thinks- A LOT. Trying to create a familiar, real person in an otherwise phantasmal atmosphere calls for more than a few ways in which he can be personified. I'm beginning to realize his "mood" is reflected by mine at the time of writing, and impulses that the certain mood brings tends to bleed through.


I commend you all for being able to write multiple things at a time. I cannot. I'm a "one thing at a time" person. If I'd start something else at the same time, most likely I'd either A) not have my whole heart in it or B) become interested in it so much I'd drop whatever else I was doing. So, with that said, I guess the issue I'm facing is: how the heck am I going to be able to get anything else done if I can't finally be satisfied with my work? Am I going to face years and years of rewriting over and over again?


But, I guess that isn't a question anyone can really answer.


You can only do what you can do. A desire for perfection assassinates excellence; that is, if you wait until something is perfect, you'll never get anything done. So do what you can do and let it go. I set a basement level where if what I do is better than that, I'm happy.


You have fans, which is more than most people have on their stories, so by that measure you're in the top 10% of all webfic anyways.