I am walking away from the manuscript.
It's taken roughly a year from decision to this point, but I am much closer to publishing now than I ever was before. "The Gray Wars" has been a passion project since I was in high school, a little nugget of unbridled imagination that tumbled about in my head from time to time. In a few months, with a lot of luck, it will be picked up and turned into a novel.
I know precious little about the publishing process. Everything I think I know comes from reading forums online or books written about writing books. It's all very meta. What I have garnered is one bit of advice that I wish to share now.
Your story will never be perfect.
Look at any award winning story, be it film, TV or literature. There are plenty of plot holes, slow chapters and typos floating freely in the otherwise captivating words. Those authors found themselves at a point where the manuscript was unable to be made better by more work. Think of it like a house. Sure, you can keep hitting it with a hammer, but it's not going to get any more built.
Writing the book has been an incredible experience, and one I look forward to repeating soon. I have two more novels set in this universe already, and I just started brainstorming a new series yesterday. At the same time, it has been a rough education. I did not know just how hard this process would be, especially when it came to editing and rewriting. When you've had a scene in your head a certain way for so many years, it kind of hurts to let it play out a different way.
But the story is made better by those changes, and that is the most important thing.