It’s a balancing act. You can’t just keep editing your story forever without sending it in. But if you’re overanxious and send it too soon, you might have mistakes that you would’ve caught with time.
Whichever side of the spectrum you fall on (submitting too early or not submitting at all), it’s important to know when your story is done or at least done enough, and while I don’t have the perfect formula, here are a few tips that I hope will help.
Ask a friend
I have several friend who read over almost everything I write, making suggestions and edits, often catching things that I would have never caught on my own.
Most likely, you have friends who are writers, so ask them if they think your story is ready.
If they have a lot of suggestions, your story needs more work. If they only have minor or technical suggestions, it’s probably time to submit.
It’s not all or nothing
Let’s say you submit a story to ten magazines and get ten rejections. That doesn’t mean you’re done. There are plenty of magazines out there. If you submit then later decide your story needs more editing, you can just submit it again somewhere else.
Submitting is very low risk.
Follow your instincts
Do you think your story is ready to submit?
Sometimes, I’ll write a story and it’ll only take a couple days for it to feel just write. Other times (more often), it’ll take months or even years and numerous drafts before a story is ready.
Don’t second guess yourself. If you think your story is ready, submit. If not, maybe it needs a little more editing.