Monday, May 27, 2013

The Thrill (and Necessity) of Letting Go

A little break from Query Kombat stuff to get back into what I enjoy about blogging. Stories! And sharing them.

First off, HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY. (Wendy, if you're reading this, just know that your post about Boston made an impact on me. I'm going to talk about stuff like this instead of ignoring it.)

This is not just a day to relax, have a picnic, and take a day off of work. This is a day to remember those that lost their lives to protect us. Families were shattered, children were orphaned, and so much more, all due to the brave sacrifices of millions of veterans (and I'm not only talking about America, although, technically, today is only America's Memorial Day-- it's high time we stop being so insular. We need to realize every country in the world has had its brave citizens. Maybe we can make a global memorial day! That'd be pretty fantastic).

We are forever indebted to the millions we don't know, who fought for people they didn't know either. You guys rock.

I saw a sign in a gas station store which said, "Land of the Free: Because of the Brave." That quote is awesome and so, so true. You guys are seriously awesome!


My Writerly Shenanigans

I just passed writing 10k words on my work-in-progress after what seemed like FOREVER. I mean I wrote 50k (longhand!) of that same WIP in a notebook before I called it quits due to a crazy amount of plot holes. I mean, it was crazy. I don't think I'm ever going to pants my way through the American health care system again! That was a real pain. Hahaha. Pain. Hahah. Punny.

I am currently 10k into my rewrite of that plot-holey book. And I'm loving it. I really am.

This new WIP is so much more my voice and my style of writing. I'm actually enjoying crafting the sentences, making them sound as lyric-y as possible. I'm having fun with words.

Isn't that what writing is all about?

For about three years, I was writing one book. Then rewriting it. Then again, rewriting it. (No, this is not the plot-holey book.) I loved (and still do love) that world, those characters, so, so much. 

But I stopped that last rewrite about midway in order to work on this new project.

Because after two rewrites, even though I still have a LOT of hope for that project, I just needed something new. I needed to flex my writing muscles instead of doing the same thing over and over and over again. I was stagnating. I was about to hit my plateau.

Just like 'muscle confusion,' writing this new book (in a TOTALLY different genre: from YA Epic Fantasy to Adult Contemporary with a Literary Bend (!)) made me energized and stronger. Everything I learned about the craft from the YA Fantasy is now in this book, and I don't regret writing the YA (although I almost wish I hadn't spent so much time on it).

I know it's scary, letting go of your first book. It's incredibly scary.

"Gosh, I had so much hope for it." "Gosh, what if something happens to me and I didn't publish that book?" "Gosh, what if it could have been the next Harry Potter and I gave up on it? Let me just do one more rewrite...." "Gosh, I just love it so much and I know so much about it. This new book and new idea.... It's so new. Let me stick to what I know. Let me just improve it."

It's tempting to stay in that box. And it's also tempting to think you are one of the exceptions to the rule that few "first books" ever get published. It's the second, the third, the fourth, even the twentieth, that might get you published. And it's taken me a long time to realize this.

It's so hard to take that plunge, and it's not like I've forgotten about my old book at all. But writing something new--it's a rushing and scary feeling. But gosh darn it, it's worth it. And it feels so good.

When to let go is up to you. I know it sounds crazily corny, but you'll know when your passion for that one book crosses over from true hope and belief, and into denial and fear.

I finally broke the 10k word count barrier and I'm hoping to shoot for 1k every night (hopefully, more!). Wish me luck!

Have you guys ever had to let go of something in order to grow? How was that experience? Tough, liberating, both?

(Sorry about not getting around to everyone's blogs. Query Kombat has been crazy, but I'm going to make time to get around everywhere--starting today!)


  1. I had a hard time letting go of my first ms. I did too many revisions and spent way too much time on it. But now that I've moved on from that one, I seem to be addicted to moving on! I've written three books since that first one, and almost as soon as I'm done I start a new file and do it all over again. Of course I go back and edit, but it's energizing to start something totally new and just go with it! I totally hear you. Aaaaaand, every book you write will teach you something new, so it's win-win. Good luck with your new project and enjoy this feeling!

  2. Thanks for the mention, SC!

    I think I've mentioned before that I've been working on a novel (not my first) for six years ... yes, six years! And I shall never let go of it as long as there is breath in my lungs and a glimmer of hope on the horizon. But hey, that's just me. And if nothing else, it keeps me out of mischief!

    Wonderful post and Happy Memorial Day :)

    Oh, and one more thing ... I always read your post :)

  3. phew! i wrote longhand first, too! it is tedious work especially when your typing it up!

  4. I wrote one for 7 years that I gave up on, but it's still in the back of my mind and will be worked on again.

  5. Some books just *need* to be let go... totally agree. I know if I hadn't of let go of my first two books, I wouldn't be where I am with my third. I seriously think it's all about trusting our guts and knowing when we need to move on and try something new. Wonderful post, SC! I always enjoy your posts!!!