The Stopwatch Is Your Frienemy

Another major realization while working on editing and formatting this afternoon and rewriting a chunk of Part III last night: a major difference between this and traditional publishing is that in the case of the latter I would eventually have to stop writing and hand this to someone else.

That’s a good thing and a bad thing. I’m much happier (sort of) with the conclusion of Part III now but what if I change my mind again? What if I change my mind in three months? As I currently understand it I’ll be able to edit the manuscript and update it on the Kindle store should that happen and, though I could be wrong, I believe that gets pushed down to anyone who buys it. Yay for fixing typos but boo for how that violates my thinking of a given piece of art or literature as a time capsule in itself. What if some major life event happens and completely changes my thinking six months from now? What if I get a million negative reviews? Shouldn’t my work, good or bad or just meh, have to stand on its own?

I’m in no way trying to compare myself to Terry Pratchett by this next statement; let me make that clear. That said, imagine if tomorrow Terry Pratchett had a massive religious conversion experience and decided that he could no longer sell Small Gods. I wouldn’t want him burgling my house to scribble “corrections” all over my copy of my favorite of all his novels and I wouldn’t expect anyone who reads Perishables and says, “Wow, that really sucked and it would have been so much better if X, Y and Z had happened,” to tolerate me yanking the Kindle out of their hands to make that happen.

Also, I think there’s a lot of use, perhaps purely psychological, in having a cutoff date as a creator. It has absolutely helped me with National Novel Writing Month in the past. I’m wondering if I need an appointed timekeeper for any future project, should there be one, who can click the button on their stopwatch and say, “You! Hands up and step away from the keyboard!”

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