Letting Go

Both Joni and I both have children in various stages of leaving the nest. We also, quite coincidentally, have both just completed manuscripts that must be sent off into the world to live lives independently, using the tools we've lovingly instilled.

Both offspring and novels may succeed beyond our wildest dreams, or they may fail entirely. In most cases, the outcome is somewhere in between. There will be some successes to celebrate, whether modest or great, along with some skinned knees and bruised hearts to mend. Sons and daughters will return at times, whether to visit or to lick their wounds. We'll shore them up and send them back into the world. Likewise, our manuscripts will drop in (also at the most inconvenient times) for editing or copy-editing, and finally in galley/page proof form so we can give them one final once-over before they trot off for their interviews with various reviewers and, most importantly, those readers who will judge them as worthy or flawed.

But ultimately, these creations are not us. They are meant to go forth and live their independent lives, with jobs to do and people to love them. Once we've sent them forth, we have other jobs... and in the case of the writer, other stories to nurture and bring forth into the world.

Do you find it difficult to "let go" of a manuscript and get onto the next story? What do you do to ease the transition?


Joni Rodgers said…
It's very difficult for me to let go of a ms, which leads to over-noodling sometimes. In an effort to make the book bulletproof, I anticipate what the critics are going to pick on (I call it "snark fodder") and go back and forth agonizing -- keep or cut, cut or keep. The final call has to be about artistic integrity, I've learned. Every time I went against my gut, I regretted it.

Meanwhile, I put Malachi on an airplane bound for Tokyo two hours ago. From there he flies to Thailand, and then he'll take a bus to Cambodia. I don't expect to sleep much for the next month or so. Any motherly vibes, prayers, and traveling mercies are appreciated.

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