My father asked me tonight if I’d learned anything at ‘that conference’ I went to, and whether I would change anything from my last books as a result.
So it’s perfect, as it is?
Yes, Dad. It’s as perfect as I could make it. I went to the conference for the NEXT book. All the workshops I picked were about the next project.
A little while later he tried again, trying to convince me that I didn’t understand his initial question. Wouldn’t I change things, if I was starting over now?
No. The book is what it needed to be.
He sighed, sure that I wasn’t getting his point.
I know he didn’t get mine.
Every day you’d write a different book. Every day your words are new.
You can’t look back. The last project is finished.
There is no point writing if you’re not trying to write the best book you can, at the time.
There’s not point thinking about what you should/could/would do once it’s out, though. Once it’s in the publisher’s hands, it’s no longer yours to fret over. It’s gone. It has its own life. It makes its own connections with readers.
Luckily, Grace is doing just fine. I don’t have to worry about ways I may have failed her. I poured the best I had into her world. It’s done. She’s being well received. Is she perfect? Well, probably not. But she’s as perfect as I could make her at the time, which means, Yes. She is.
It’s like raising children. You do the best you can, and then you send them out into the world. If your personal imperfections cause trouble for your kids as adults, there’s no point beating yourself up about it, or even contemplating what you could have done differently. You did the best you could at the time, and now you have to look toward the future and doing even better.
Behind us lies the way of madness. There can be no room for regret, only moving forward, to become the best we can be for the next project. We learn to improve for the future, not to improve the past.
Past perfect 🙂