How do you know when you’re finished writing?

It’s always difficult to judge exactly when a piece of writing is finished.

You’ll know when it’s reached that ‘just about good enough’ stage – all the right facts are in place, and it’s got the look of a coherent whole. But how do you know when you’ve done enough polishing, and when it’s not really going to improve however long you spend tinkering?

Of course, in the commercial world you don’t have unlimited time, and the client’s deadline may dictate when you need to down tools. Or you feel you really can’t justify any more time spent moving punctuation around.

To know when you’re done, I’m a fan of leaving it alone for a while. Go away and do something else for a few hours, then come back to your writing. When you read it afresh, you’ll be sure to find at least something that stands out as a little clunky, or not quite right.

Like in many things, experience will guide you, and you’ll just know when it’s right, and when more tampering will weaken the message.

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