Today’s post comes from Chris in Owatonna.
I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out. –Oscar Wilde
I’ve had it! Enough is enough! I can’t change one more word!
While working on the final draft of my suspense novel, Castle Danger, those thoughts built up over the past few weeks until I reached a breaking point. It’s time to let go and send it to the proofreader, and ultimately the printer.
There comes a time during every creative process that the creator must pronounce his work “finished.” A painter finishes a painting; a sculptor chips off the last piece of marble and sands it down; a composer inks in the final note on the score. Then the artist lets go, releasing his creation to the world for its consumption and subsequent pleasure, displeasure, or indifference.
So I’m now at the letting go stage. I realized I can change a word here, switch sentences there, intensify an expression in a third place, but to keep doing so indefinitely is a sign of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. Is the story good enough? Will anyone buy the book? If so, will they like it? And by extension, will I feel validated for spending several years of my life on creating something from nothing.
I’m glad I waited until this point, though. To have deemed Castle Danger to be finished any earlier would have left me with nagging doubts about whether I gave it my best shot. Now I am confident I gave it my best shot and can face whatever comes in the way of “success,” positive/negative reviews, and feeling good about myself. I feel good about myself right now, and the novel’s success or failure won’t change that.
If it bombs, I’ll be disappointed, but hey folks, I wrote a damn novel! Not the most earth-shattering achievement, but at least, I didn’t sit around for the rest of my life and talk about writing a novel. Seriously, I’m proud of having gotten to the point of completing a monumental project (for me). It’s something I never imagined myself doing this late in life.
For a Neo-Renaissance practitioner like me, new experiences are always good, but seeing a project through to completion is just as important as trying the new activity.
When have you finally let go of a project or creation and what brought you to that decision?