Faye Rapoport DesPres

"How Do You Know When A Work is Finished?" and another helpful link

I’ve been down and out with a miserable cold all week, and my writing time has been limited (never mind my blogging time!). Still, I wanted to share a couple of helpful links for writers.

Writer and teacher Michael Steinberg recently wrote two new blog posts titled Parts 1 and 2 of “How Do You Know When a Work is Finished?” I have grappled with this issue many times — thinking a piece is done and not wanting to face, after tireless hours of tweaking, that perhaps it still isn’t there. Sometimes even when I’m sure an essay is “done,” I discover that if I read it just a few days or a week later there are still elements I can improve.

At the same time, you could say that writing is never “finished.” Yet there comes a time when you have to let a piece go out into the world, and move on. So how do you know when that time has come? Mike shares his insight and experience — as both a writer and the founding editor of the well-known creative nonfiction journal Fourth Genre.

Meanwhile Erika Dreifus, author of Quiet Americans, publishes a blog packed with practical information for writers called Practicing Writing. From the “Monday Markets for Writers” segments to advice on how to apply for grants and fellowships, you’re likely to find something helpful on Erika’s blog.

As for me, I’m heading back to the kitchen for more tea with lemon and a cough drop. Earlier this morning I rather optimistically turned the computer on in my writing room, but I still haven’t made it back in there. With a little more tea, I might feel more inspired. But I’ll have to avoid watching the next episode of my latest addiction, Downton Abbey, which has gotten me through the last several days on the couch.