I'm an unpublished writer. And I've never thought my work was good enough to even consider being published. However, about six years ago, inspiration struck me hard and I wrote an outline of a story that I felt strongly about. I then wrote the 210,000-word story in a couple of weeks. Shortly afterward I thought maybe I should look into getting it published. So, I looked around and stumbled on this site. I then spent a few months reading and learning, and asking and reading some more on this site. One of the many things I learned was that my story was way too wordy and thus too long to be considered by any publisher, especially as a first-time author. So I went back to the drawing board and re-worked it. I lessened it down to about 95,000 words and then had some friends read the draft. I got good reviews, but while waiting for their responses, I couldn't just sit still and wait, so I kept writing, starting on a sequel to the story. I completed the sequel and then realized there were some things I should change in the first story to add more to the sequel. I went back to the drawing board again, wrote a third outline, and this one is so totally different from the original now, which means the sequel needed to be re-worked for the third time. I got frustrated and abandoned the project for over two years. My reviewers haven't seen the story since and now they wouldn't recognize it at all if they read it again. My teenaged nephew is writing stories, asking me to critique his, and this ignited the spark in me to work on my own story again. But, I keep making more changes. Every time I think I'm done and go through it to edit it, I end up finding ways to better link the characters to the plot, and to add more suspense but veering from my outline. Once again, I'm nowhere near the third outline. I've veered so far away, even changing the names of my MCs, that I've given up on following the outline altogether! I know that many published works go through a few changes, but I've lost count how many drafts I have (around 7 complete, and dozens of major changes and overhauls in even in those ones) and I'm pulling my hair out every time I'm editing and my brain fires off more ideas that require even more major changes. I've decided that I'm going to get it self-published, and I will try to stick with the recommended length, but where's the line between changing for the better and going overboard because of my own perfectionism and fear? How do I decipher between a good idea, and my own brain trying to make sure it's perfect? And if an outline is the key to a great story, how do I stick to it?