When do you know that you’re done?

Whenever I submit a paper or writing assignment, I have made sure to read and read and reread and then reread again each and every word/sentence to make sure its perfect. The Capstone project, however, has proven to be a bit different. While I’ve read through every post for my blog, I still don’t feel like they’re ready – does anyone else feel that way?

Recently, I had to submit a term paper for my major’s Capstone course. It was 10 pages (single-spaced!), and it was long. It was full of detail, and, naturally, I wanted to do well. I scrutinized that paper over and over again, reading it multiple times even when I didn’t make any edits. I could have been done at 9pm the night it was due, but instead I turned it in at 11:45.

I guess my question here is, how do you know when you’re done? The thing about writing is that it can always be read again. You could always make changes if you want to, so what’s another read through? How many read throughs is too many read throughs? It seems as though I adjust my piece every time I read through it – either changing an adjective or removing an article or removing an entire sentence. An essay or piece of writing can always be improved, right? So how do you know when to stop?

I’m hoping I figure it out soon! With the Capstone project due so soon, I’ve been thinking about my editing capabilities over the next couple of days. Anyways, I wish everyone the best of luck in the final stretch. I cannot wait to see everyone’s final product!

2 thoughts to “When do you know that you’re done?”

  1. Hi Casey!

    I think my answer to that would be that you are never really done with any piece of writing. I think that when it comes to writing, the term “done” should not apply. Instead think of this as “is it complete enough that my ideas and message makes sense and fit together?” You can always change a piece of writing to mean something else and you can always add something or take something out that adds meaning to the project or essay, but I think that if you are at peace with your work and feel that in that moment there is not much else you need to add to get your point across, then that is when it is “done”.

  2. Casey, I wish I’d read this an hour ago. I feel like I just wrote a very similar blog post that pretty much depicts the exact same problem — I just never feel done with my projects, and even when I think they’re done, I edit them so much that I turn them in right against a deadline anyways.

    I wish I had advice for you, but then I’d have advice for me too, and I certainly don’t. I think this is problem is kind of based off a bigger drive. Like, you want your project to be as good as it gets, and you’re willing to work every minute you have to make sure that happens. That’s not a bad thing! It means you’re driven, and you want to do good work. At some point we have to let go and turn it what we have, regardless of if it’s “perfect” or not, but there’s nothing wrong in trying to make it as close as possible.

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