A novel is never finished in the mind of the author.
Of course, no one “buys” an author’s mind. A tangible product—whether print or digital or some other format—is required before payment can be expected, readers enriched and reviews composed. At some point the author must let go of his or her creation enough to risk the marketplace, and to establish psychological closure in order to move on to the next project.
I am close to this “letting go” step with my second novel and fourth book, The Wine Steward’s Lover. There are endless possibilities for additional input, editing and discussions about what might strengthen the plot, add complexity to the characters, and so forth. But one can only stare at an enchanting dinner menu for so long before the hunger to taste becomes unbearable.
What creative project is calling for you to “risk closure” and move forward?
Perhaps the biggest gamble for you right now is starting the project, because of the potential of its tangible expression not living up to your expectations. Life is short, and the mundane has a habit of drying up creative juices; so take the chance!