I was cleaning up the deck at home, hauling out lawn chairs, pulling cushions from their winter hidey-holes, and generally rejoicing in a perfect day, weather-wise. We were just back from a quick trip to the lake, and feeling the need to continue the great outdoors adventure. So I hauled the umbrella for the dining table from the shed, and quickly dropped it through the hole in the tempered glass table.
Big mistake. The explosion was immediate, the shock quickly followed. Glass everywhere, including in my skin. I stood there for what seemed hours, as the tempered glass crackled and continued to break from its death place on the deck floor. Slivers of glass had shot into my jeans and my shoes, and all I could think was, how on earth do I clean this up and start over? I wished I could I go back to five seconds earlier and re-do everything I had done, which was clearly a mistake.
There are no do-overs for shattered glass or writers, once a book is published. When it's done, it's done. I can't tell you how often I will read a paragraph here and there in one of my books, and think to myself, I need to do another rewrite. If I have the rights back, I sometimes will. But not often. It's crazy, but warts and all, it's my baby and it needs to be what it is. I just have to get over myself and my compulsion to rewrite the heck out of everything.
A story loses its sparkle, at least for me, when I'm compulsively rewriting it. One day, I'll learn to let it go. It'll fly or sink on its own.
So there. I need to go clean up the million pieces of glass all over the deck. At least I know what to do with that.