About half a day after I pushed the button on ordering my proof copy of Unmortal, I had a stab of what I guess you could call the "creativity of the stairwell" — that rush of "wait, but what if I did this instead?!" ideas that always seems to wash over you right after you've put a story to bed. I've noticed these ideas tend to well up most strongly in the interstice between ending editing on a story and revealing it to the public for the first time, because that's the absolute last moment you have to make such changes. I'm getting good at ignoring those feelings.
Sometimes those feelings are derived from the sense that you have a fixable mistake in your story, that you're the only one who can see it, and if you don't do something about it there's going to be a Fatal Flaw™ in the work that some one on Goodreads will sniff out, air out, and use to knock your legs out from under you. Ridiculous, right? Well, not if you've spent upwards of eighteen months sweating every detail. But one other thing you tend to learn over time is how every book is going to be necessarily imperfect, and how it does not help you to get stuck in a perpetual cycle of snipping and fretting. At some point you have to boot that thing out into the world and move on.
I've learned to ignore these last-minute-fixup impulses not because I don't want my work to be the best it can be, but because there's a difference between that impulse and the simple fear of pulling the trigger. A couple of jobs ago, I worked at a place where I was required to post at least one article a day. There, too, I had to fight the feeling of something irreversible happening if I pulled the trigger. Eventually I found out those fears were baseless, but I had to go through a few cycles of such fear before they dissipated. It was in big part due to the pace of the place, and also the way my work was edited by someone else and then put into production without a consultation back on my part. (Worrying about what my work had been turned into also turned out to be a baseless fear.)
I know Unmortal is flawed, by dint of it merely existing. Maybe that's the real reason for my "80%" thinking about it and other things I've produced. Getting to 100% is not possible, but if we can get to even 80% within ourselves for whatever intentions we had for something, that's a good goal. It encourages improvement rather than perfection. And maybe that's the spur behind another of my impulses — the urge to never step in the same river twice, to keep each work self-contained. From that I'm forced to broaden my efforts as much as possible.