I'm stuck in a maddening corner with my novel.
I want to make it better, but I can't. It's not that I have no ability to edit or that I can't revise and revisit scenes. It isn't that I lack motivation to do it either, I often spend huge amounts of time writing every day.
I'm paralyzed by the simple fact that I want my novel to be the best it can be, but I no longer have any perspective on what that is.
I've rewritten the beginning several times. I've shifted the starting point for the story forward and introduced characters that are pivotal at earlier moments. Then I've shown it to other people and changed it all again. Every time I go through this process I realize one thing. I want my book to be the best it can be, but I don't know what that is.
I'm stuck in a loop of, I'll do whatever is best for the writing quality, when I don't know what that is. The reason I can't recognize it anymore, is a complete lack of perspective.
I can't even imagine what it is like for someone to approach this draft as a reader.
Which brings me to the inevitable moment that I am in now. I won't be able to make this story much better without moving on to other stories and distancing myself. People are lucky that way, we can forget creative works and grow. When we return after months or years, they mean something new to us. They can be renewed in our minds. In my case, the issues with my story will be clearer to me.
Luckily, most agents and editors will take a significant amount of time to respond to my inquiries. So I'm struggling as hard as I can with the beginning of the story. I'm hoping that I can make the first three chapters strong enough that I can get it right and take a break from the novel. I want to write other stories. I have so many ideas in my head that I feel genuine pain that I have to focus on editing draft after draft of the same chapters.