Friday, January 16, 2009

Letting Go

I got an email today from someone who is nearing completion of her first novel. I thought she asked a very pertinent question, because anyone who has ever gotten near the end of their first novel has, in one form or another, asked themselves this kind of question. And my answer is not particularly profound; it's just what a writer needs to do.

Dear Edmund

Please tell me that somewhere, all of this ends. The playing with the story, the revisions, the internal logic ... that all of it eventually gets onto the page and is published, and you let it go.

Did you find it difficult to let go of Dreaming Creek?


Dear Linda,

I didn't find it difficult to let go of Dreaming Creek; if anything it was a relief. I spent SO many hours and days and weeks and months and years on it that I was ready to move on. Very ready. However, in order to do so, I had to accept the fact that it would live with certain flaws.

I think there was a tipping point where I was satisfied that it was good enough, even if it wasn't as good as it could possibly be. Because every month that goes by, I learn things about the book, the characters, and about writing in general, that could be used to make the book better. But I don't want to spend the rest of my life 'perfecting' the same book, I want to write new ones. So I've let go of the last one; I hardly think about it all. I'm focused on the next one. Of course, that’s a lot easier to do once the book has been published… but eventually you have to decide it's good enough -- and move on.



Gray Rinehart said...

Sound advice, that I am trying assiduously to follow.

Edmund R. Schubert said...

Best of luck.

Dena said...

"Hey, if you wanna go thru life doing things half-assed, that's your business."

- Quote from "That 70's Show." Heh.