Great news! Last Tuesday, May 27, I finished the first draft of Fallen. My 25,000 word project came in at 57,509. It's off with proofreaders now, and preparing for editing to develop the next several drafts before handing it off to my editor and hammering out the final drafts.
Between books, I force myself to take a one week break. It's hard because I usually panic the first day off, not knowing what to do with myself, then exhaustion hits by day 3, and I start feeling more human again on day 4. I start getting tempted to draft the next book by day 5.
So here I'm sitting, day 5/6, itching to draft the next book and waiting for Fallen to return from the boxing ring. I'm watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with my almost-six-year-old. I've really enjoyed this version of the beloved franchise. It's got a great story line, and interesting characters. The episode I'm taking in today is where Rarity is designing dresses for her friends and they keep wanting changes. She presents them with these wonderful, gorgeous dresses that showcase her strengths, and they demand she match their desires.
Editing a novel is not unlike this process. You write the best first draft you possibly can and hand it off to those you trust. They request changes that they think will make the piece stronger.
You start editing, you try to make it better, you do the best you can, but you feel completely inadequate. Then it starts. You're so paranoid about producing perfection that you haven't seen your friends in weeks. They're worried you'll become the crazy cat lady. Don't be the crazy cat lady!
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the best product you can produce at this point in time. Follow your brilliant design and trust your instincts. Fix the plot holes, put the commas and semicolons in their place, show that sagging middle who's boss AND MOVE ON!
You can't please everybody, but you can put in your best effort.
So do it! Give it 110%. The feedback isn't personal. It's business. Which brings me to reviews. I love when I get a review, even if it's negative. It means the book evoked enough emotion from the reader to voice their opinion about their reading experience. That alone should say something to you. That's what every author's goal is, right? To make the reader feel something. You succeeded. So say thank you to those 1 star review posters. Know that you gave it your best shot. You can't please everyone.
Write because it makes you happy.
Don't be the crazy cat lady.
Oh and did I mention don't try to please everyone?
May the Muse be with you!