Letting Go of Your Work

While reading the book “Minding the Muse” by Priscilla Long, she talks about writers and letting go of their work. It seems like people fall into one of two camps – they let their work go too soon, or they hold on too long.


I fall into the camp of letting my work go too soon. I have a problem taking time, not being in a rush. I read books like “Write. Publish. Repeat.” and I get all energized, wanting to build my funnel of prolific writing and build and run a business around that. I love business. I am passionate about building and running businesses, especially if it’s my own product, which in this case would be my writing. So, I want to get to the publication phase as soon as possible, which for me is self-publishing.

This brings with it a variety of dangers. Writing too fast is not something I believe produces bad writing. I find faster writing so much better for me. The longer I wait to finish a novel, the more distanced I become from it and the harder it becomes to maintain momentum and sit down to the words every day.

The thing I worry about is wanting to dive into publishing too fast. I will run it through beta readers and an editor, but the risk is that I will put a stamp of approval on a book that just isn’t ready, and it paves the way to a shoddy career as a writer because I botched my books in the rush to be published.

You should know that I already have three covers for three books – my fantasy novel, my sci-fi novel, and a collection of short stories (that I haven’t written yet). I use these as motivation to keep going, but it also gets me really focused on the product instead of enjoying the ride.

I write to write, not to be published, and that’s hard to remember sometimes.

I like having deadlines for myself, such as “I want to be published by the end of the year”, but it also creates a sense of unease every time I sit down at the page. What if I fail? What if it’s no good and can’t be published? All of the fears rise up that I’m sure aren’t uncommon among writers. But, it doesn’t make them any less real to know they are shared with other people.

My task this week is just to reabsorb myself in the writing process and find joy in that, and I think in finding joy in the process I will gain confidence that I can publish when I want to with an excellent product, and my fears will dissipate.

This is Day 2 of my writer’s retreat. I’m thinking of going for a hike today to spend some time in nature and let my thoughts wander. Yesterday I did manage to get my 2000 words in that I had set out to accomplish, so I’m starting out today on the right foot. I want to keep my mind fresh and inspired, which requires me to get out of my chair occasionally, if I want to keep hitting my 2000 words or more.

My task to you today is to get out and do something, even something small, that could give you a creative boost. Swing at a park, walk a trail through your neighborhood, go to a nursery, climb a tree, draw on the concrete with chalk, build a snowman if there’s snow where you are. Just get outside and breathe some air. Explore. Let the thoughts roll around in your head freely and you’ll be surprised what you come up with.

via Daily Prompt: Explore

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