Writing is hard. We writers spend so much time living in our heads, creating worlds and stories that we know better than the real world in front of us. We write, we edit, we revise. Rinse and repeat a million times.
Naturally (well, hopefully), in the process, we fall in love. Hard.
So it’s incredibly tough to face the reality that sometimes we just have to let go. It's so tempting to go along with The Beatles and "Let It Be." But Disney's Queen Elsa was much more in line with what I'm trying to impart: "Let it Go." (Okay, I'm done with quoting song titles now, I promise. For today, anyway).
As much as I hate to say it, writing books is a business. Even though we might think our characters and ideas are the absolute best in the world, the market might not agree with us. Sometimes it’s arbitrary, much of the time it’s subjective, but all the time…it’s business. And though I would never ever suggest that someone write to market trends, I do think we all need to be aware of what is selling and what is not. Of course, there will always be exceptions. Like with everything else, there’s always matter of luck involved.
And though it’s hard, we have to wake up to the fact that sometimes we have to let go and kill our darlings. With the hope that our next darling will be even better, even stronger, even more loveable.
How do I do it?
I’m a pretty disciplined writer, but I’m certainly an emotional one as well. Whenever I know that it’s time for a project/draft to rest in piece, I go into mourning for a little while. Well, sometimes more than a little while. I might complain, mope, whine, and gripe (to my poor, very sympathetic husband), but I know that I want to write books and I want to publish books. I won’t reach my goals with inaction. So once my mourning period is over, I suck it up and start over again.
Because I’ll only get better as a writer, which means I’ll get closer and closer to my goal of getting published. And if I have to let go a little to do that, it seems like a worthwhile tradeoff to me.