What Does My Work Need Here (Asimov Edition)

You know all the ideas people have for you? And the sneaking suspicions you have about your own work? 

Sometimes you need to listen. 

Other times you need to put it all aside,

And just do the work. 

Think, make, ship. 

Nothing happens without that last step. 

On to the next one.

Isaac Asimov almost had a freak-out looking back at his own draft of an assembled copy of The Foundation Trilogy. He’d just received the biggest advance of his career (we’re talking 10x what he normally got) and was awaiting final publication. In his words,

…about the end of May, I picked up my own copy of “The Foundation Trilogy” and began reading. 

I read it with mounting uneasiness. I kept waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. All three volumes, all the nearly quarter of a million words, consisted of thoughts and conversation. No action. No physical suspense…

I was on the edge of deciding it was all a terrible mistake and of insisting on giving back the money, when (quite by accident, I swear) I came across some sentences by science-fiction writer and critic James Gunn, who, in connection with the Foundation series, said, “Action and romance have little to do with the success of the Trilogy–virtually all the action takes place offstage, and the romance is almost invisible–but the stories provide a detective-story fascination with the permutations nad reversals of ideas.” 

Oh, well, if what was needed were “permutations and reversals of ideas,” then that I could supply. Panic receded… 

He heard the right piece of feedback. Trust your process and make with your guts. Ship the work.
h/t Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction by James Gunn, which I have not read and can’t tell you how I stumbled into this book’s google site/quote, but I loved it.