Writer’s Remorse

Every time I publish a book, I suffer from remorse.  Was there more I could have done?  Should it have been edited again?  Should I have sent it to the content editor just one more time and get her feedback on everything?  Could I have improved this scene or that scene?  Did the plot really make sense?  Did I tie up enough of the loose ends (for this book in the series)?  For about a week, I enter a funk, unable to write, wondering why the hell I published the drivel.

It also makes me unhappy with previously published works.  I look back on the first couple of books in a series and think about how I could rewrite them.  I could make them better.  I could fix those agonizing little details that bugged me after I hit the publish button.

But I don’t.  Much like Aislinn Cain, I have a Jimney Cricket voice in my head.  It reminds me that I might make it better or I might make it worse.  Let’s be honest, there’s a fifty/fifty chance that I’ll screw it up royally instead of improving it.  I mean, what would happen if they rewrote Predators and made Royce more of a softy?  It wouldn’t be the same movie.  It wouldn’t be as interesting.  His “follow me or die and skip the pleasantries” attitude is kind of what makes his character worth watching.  While they are busy giving us pictures of Nikolai’s (Oleg Taktarov) children and the convict’s (Walton Goggins) proclivities for rape, we don’t even find out Royce’s (Adrien Brody) name until the end of the film.  The only thing that could be changed was the doctor’s (Topher Grace) character.  I had him pegged as a serial killer the moment he said he was a doctor.  But then, I write serial killer novels, so maybe I should just expect to have that figured out.  I’ve lost my thread… Oh yes, I could change them… but I could totally screw them up.  So, I don’t.

I don’t know if other writers internalize these same things after hitting the “publish” button.  I don’t know if they instantly fill with a sense of dread because they have published yet again and in three weeks, they’ll have had a better idea.  I do know that I do this, every time.  It’s strange to feel bad about publishing when you do it as often as I do…

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