I wrote a post on this a few years ago, when I was finishing up my last book.
I think the main thing I have learned since then is this: if you think you're done, you're probably not. You probably need to send it off to another few good critique friends and get more feedback, then ponder the advice you get, and overhaul the damn thing. Again. I guarantee it needs it. And then do it again. And maybe again. As many times as it needs. It's not as good as you think it is.
Sorry if you thought so.
And when you get your novel
all perfect and polished into oblivion, and an editor loves it, that's when the real editing begins. Because it won't be perfect then, either.
But that's ok, because it's the rewriting that makes a book good. It will never be perfect, but it can be wonderful. Enchanting. Exciting. Brilliant. Magical.
Writing is like that. Excruciating and wonderful. Exhausting and invigorating. And if you love it, like I do, it's totally worth all that.
Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones
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