The Letting Go

For the last few days, I suspect that I've been dawdling, inventing reasons to keep noodling with this manuscript, to continue living these character's adventures for just a few more days.

Just one more reread, I tell myself, though I've been over my "child's" face so many times, I cannot see its flaws. Either that or I see all flaws, with no redeeming qualities. Myopic by now, I'm at risk of, at best, losing touch with the magic of my original vision. At worst, there is a danger that I'll become so self-conscious, so obsessed about every darned apostrophe that I'll never letting manuscript go out into the world to live its life... a life that, despite its origins, will be independent of me, and largely lived inside the minds of strangers.

Some of these strangers with welcome it with open arms, others will be hostile, looking only to find fault. But this is the way of the world and the story has it's work to do...

So I, at long last, attach the file and hit "send."

Have you ever had trouble letting go of a project you need to send out? Or do you have the opposite, and equally troublesome problem: an itchy trigger finger that has you letting go of things before they're really ready? How do you find the balance?


Julie said…
Colleen, I know exactly how you feel. I don't think I'm procrastinating (yet) since I just completed the manuscript this past Sunday. But I've let myself get caught up with edits and rereads in the past.
I consider it an accomplishment that I managed to read my WIP front to back without stopping to edit. I made notes--punch this up, smooth this over, add, subtract, etc.
I'm going to say here, and please hold me accountable, that I plan to finish my initial edit and send the first 50 pages to a couple of agents before the WHRWA meeting in February.
Joni Rodgers said…
Lark said…
I long to hit "SEND" with confidence. Thanks for the great post.
Thanks, Julie, Joni, and Lark. It's great knowing I'm not the only one who struggles with this.
I'm with Lark. I "long to hit SEND with confidence." But when there are still structural problems, still big plot holes, still characters to develop and cut out, clearly that is out of the question. But at the same time, I know there will always be other choices I could make. That's sort of how I look at it--once the arc of the story is structurally sound and the characters are developed enough for the genre (and in literary fiction, they have to be REALLY well developed), there are still other artistic choices we could make.

I just hope it gets easier at some point and that each of my books doesn't take as long as this one. I've actually completed other manuscripts before this, but have never taken them through this kind of refining fire. I think it will also really be different when I finally get something published and gain the confidence that was completely shattered in grad school. (Shattered, pulverized, crushed into dust) I've heard other UH alum say that, at least, so I hope it's true for me.

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