You might be surprised to learn that I do not have any tattoos or piercings on my body. I have a deep aversion to “permanent” “alterations” that affect my flesh and bones. (Yes, I know that piercing holes can close up and that you can get tattoos removed. But I don’t even like “semi” “permanent” “alterations.”)
I don’t like stuff you can’t change. I do not like permanent things.
As a kid, I shied away from permanent markers. I never wanted anything to go on my permanent record. And I know I dressed like a wrinkled mess, never having the courage to wear permanent press.
So I guess it’s not shocking to reveal that I don’t like going to the dentist. All that drilling and filling and yanking and clanking is permanent. (Other reasons include extreme discomfort and pain and the taste of Novocain.)
Unfortunately, that’s where I am/was this morning. It’s been at least 10 or 12 years since I’ve needed any dental work (besides a cleaning). I brush, I floss, I eat right, I whisper sweet—but not sugary—nothings to my molars. Despite my best efforts, though, I need some work done.
The worst part? I’ll have to carry around those metal/ceramic pieces in my mouth for the rest of my life. I’ll be forever altered, and that bums me out.
What does this have to do with writing?
Well, once a book gets published in print, it’s “permanent.” Can’t be altered. Sure, you can change it in future editions or in the e-book version, but each printed book is permanent.
That’s why, as a writer, you need to make your story as good as you possibly can. Sometimes, there are no second chances.