Letting Go is Hard to Do

Four first responders – two sets of siblings in two nascent love affairs – fight wildland arsons with multiple suspects, including one of their own.

They are the reason I’ve been quiet this last month, busy in deep editing to bring these books to market.  I’ve been living with these folks for over a year now.  No joke, a year.  I had this notion I’d stretch a little, writing two interlocking romantic suspense stories with lots of action and big fires and things that go BOOM.  Fun stuff – except I was crazy!  (But I wrote about that before.)

Here’s where I stumbled along, making sure the two plot lines intersected –

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Here’s where we all ended up –

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Now we’re done.  Finito.  Graduated and sent out into the world.  The stories of Noah and Nicolle and Gideon and Danielle and their bad guys are off my hard drive, so to speak.

But I am having a hard time letting go, transitioning on to the next completed manuscript I need to edit, and in a completely different series and genre.  I loved these characters for their flaws and their courage.  I was so deeply immersed in their heads that I now have a hard time crawling back out.

As creatives, I think many of us experience the same thing, no matter what the medium.  I know visual artists sometimes stare at their work, thinking ‘ah, something’s missing, and until I learn what it is, this piece stays hidden.’  A musician keeps searching for the right riff or vocal.  For a writer, we always find yet one more tweak to adjust the pace or the reveals or the ah-ha moments of our characters.

Raise your hand if you’ve experienced this as a creative.  You’re in the final stage before releasing your work.  The final read of the final draft, so to speak.  You begin studying it and you think to yourself, “Gee, Self, this is good – maybe even great – maybe even the best thing you’ve ever produced.”

Sometime later in this final process, you think it’s a piece of doggie-do stuck on the bottom of your shoe.  No one will ever like this.  Why did you bother?  Oh, what the hell.  May as well release it anyway because it might just be good enough…

Yes, that’s me, and I don’t think I’m alone.

But now it’s time to let go.  Say goodbye to my friends the characters and for a time, even pause the series they’re in.  Step back, step away, and step into it again when I’ve been able to internalize – well, I’m not sure what I’ll internalize.  Guess that will come to me with time.

On to the next edit.  Did I mention this is a psychological thriller about a man who is convinced someone has control of his mind and is driving him to commit murder?  Talk about deep point of view!

Let me know how you handle the letdown and letting go when you finish a major creative piece.  We’re all in this together!

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