Friday, July 6, 2012

Learning to Let Go

I realized after I posted, I missed the Insecure Writer's Support Group: July Edition by one day, so I will make this one mine, if that is legal.

I will start off by just saying life loves to get in the way of writing. It’s madness! But school and computer problems and illness just always sneak up and overwhelms you when you really don’t need it. And Princess Peach, you can’t just leave her locked in the tower! I mean…it’s not right.

Anyway, the distractions aside, it is time to get back to business.

I am in the process of another re-write of my novel.  At the moment the prologue is being rewritten for about the eighth time and I am finding myself at a point that most writers probably face: when you have to let go.

Except for about the first two or three editions, the book has always started with the line “Once upon a time, war was the dream of the people” and now I am finding myself so hooked on to this one sentence I have based every re-write since then on that one sentence alone.

And, like my writer’s identity, I wasn’t fully aware I was doing it until I had a slap-in-the-face realization.

My start chapter might start off with a line I am proud of, but everything following after has always sounded stale, forced, and just plain “meh”. Is that one line really worth it?

For a long time, it was.

How on earth did that happen? Though I am a writer and though I want to write a book, I can’t forget about the fact that these are just words. Though the words create something great, they are still words.

And I should not let a few words, a sentence, a paragraph, a page, or a chapter control and constrict the story as a whole. Things might be shared through the words, but they aren’t the only things that are contributing to the book.

So, I have to let these words go. Though painful, it is just what has to be done for the greater good of the novel.

I found I had to give myself a stern talking to. I needed to sit down and converse with Randi and myself before I finally deleted them and left myself with a completely blank page. It is rejuvenating, inspiring, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Now, how to let it go? Well, in all honesty, I don’t think anyone can till they realize they are ready for it themselves. My best friend and mentor probably couldn’t get me to let it go until I was ready. Heck, the most distinguished published author probably couldn’t have gotten me to let it go either.

Because these words just mean so much during creation, and that love and pride just get in the way. Not until I or anyone else is ready can those words be deleted.

And man, once they are, I look back and go “what the heck was wrong with me?”. It feels like so much time was wasted! I could’ve let it go earlier and moved on! But I have to remember:

Not until I am ready. And everyone goes at their own proper, healthy, right pace. Rushing, typically, just won’t help. I think pushing myself is good, to work and try to get things accomplished after so long of not writing or to meet a goal…but like the words; that time-line is not worth the destruction of the story!

That, I think, is what the kicker is. When the realization that the story is worth more than this one lovely thing, then everything starts to fall more into play. But it does stink waiting for that moment to finally click.

What about your experience? Has there been something that you just struggled with letting go? Please share!


  1. Sounds like it might be a decent tag line though. :-)

    In my case, I had to let go of a character. My fingers knew it had to happen before my heart and head did. I stared at the screen in disbelief, wishing it hadn't happened, but knew it had to be.

    1. Why thank you! Yes, I really like it cause it's been drilled down that the first line and paragraph of a story are the most important. Gotta catch the attention of the readers. So letting go of one I felt could do that, is hard. But, meh, I must move on! or at least be open to other options.

      Ouch! A whole character? Now that is a painful experience. :( RIP your character. But yes, those things have to be done. It stinks it has to be so painful to do something like that.

  2. I had to let go of the same thing you did! My beginning line and my ending line because neither were "Lightbringer." As you revise your story and evolve it I just know that you will find what *is* "The Writer" and what isn't. As you said, it just takes a little bit of letting go and figuring it all out--but I'm confident that you will get there! And, besides, just because those pieces of your story that you love so much don't work in one place...there's always somewhere else for them to fit! You'll make it work. And I'm super-dee-duper proud of you for letting go of the same stubbornness I did for the sake of your story! Allez-y!

    1. It is a long, emotional, and tiring journey finding out what is and, perhaps more importantly, what isn't your story. Because, man, the "isn't" can be such a downer at times. But just life as a writer! Just gotta get over the slump and keep moving forward! Gotta stick to being positive and understanding that, while it hurts now, it is for the best and is just part of a professional style of a writer.

      Yeah, there is nothing wrong with trying to save them, just not keeping the whole story tightened around it. >.<

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. You know your words always perk me up!

  3. I tend to throw around the phrase "murder your darlings" quite a bit, because I think it's one of the most important bits of advice to cling to as a writer. Sometimes it just has to go, no matter how much you love it and no matter how hard you labored over it. It's one of the toughest things about editing your work!

    But when you finally stop peering over the edge and just leap--it's a load off your chest. It's a freeing feeling to know you don't have to be handcuffed to your words. Good luck!

    1. Yikes, a very painful (but seems very accurate) way of looking at it. Yeah, it's cutting it down and knowing when is a good place to stop and when to continue. When do you know if you're holding on to something out of stubbornness or cause the story actually needs it? So many personal things to ponder.

      Yeah, it is a very freeing experience! Thank you :)

  4. We all have to go to some similar experience. I guess when they say "kill your darlings", they do meant it. =/

    I'm happy that you found inspiration again and wish you good luck with all the changes your doing!

    1. Yeah, it is a pretty hard smack in the face. Just wanna keep holding on to it. But, just gotta think about the big darling (aka the story). Doesn't seem to make it any less painful :(

      Thank you! That really means a lot. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to the post!

  5. It's so hard to let go, isn't it?? I don't know if it ever gets easy, but it's sometimes necessary.

    Awards await you on my latest post. :))

    1. Yes it is :) it is a struggle at times, but one that is a must in this line of work.

      Oh wow! Oh my god, thank you so very much! That is is so great! Thank you loads!! >w<