Thursday, June 07, 2007

Letting Go

By Nichole Giles

We sold four puppies yesterday. They are beautiful puppies, playful and fun loving, each with his or her own personality. In the seven weeks since they were born, my family and I have become attached to those little guys.

I was present as each one of them was born. My husband, Gary, and I put each of them to their mother’s breast for the first time. We have held them, and loved them, and watched them grow into the most adorable little fur-balls on the planet. (I am in no way biased.) But we have to let them go.

That’s the trouble with puppies. It has been a wonderful experience for us, but as much as we love them, we can’t keep them all. Aside from the fact that the city ordinances only allow for two dogs per owner, I can’t even imagine the cost of feeding nine dogs on a permanent basis. And can you imagine the destruction in my beautiful back yard? Oh, my poor, poor garden! So, we find them good, loving homes, say goodbye, and hope against hope that we are sending them to a life filled with bones and chew-toys on a five-acre farm.

It’s a tough concept to learn. But I’m working on it.

This same concept can be applied to our work as writers. An idea is born, and we nurse it, hold it, love it, and watch it grow into something we never imagined we could produce. (And never, are we biased.) But then the day comes when we are forced to find our work a decent and loving home. We send it out into the world, hoping against hope that we are sending this story (or article, or book) to the right editor, who will give it the attention it deserves, with a few editing marks and beautiful artwork.

That’s the trouble with writing. Your story won’t be read if you don’t send it. As much as you love each story, you can’t keep them all. Aside from the fact that it is unfair to your talent and craft for you to horde your work, you’d run out of filing space. Your work would eventually cover your desk, and then your kitchen counter, and pretty soon every surface in your house would be filled with works of wonder and beauty that only you (and maybe a few select others) have seen.

As we have had to give up our puppies, so must a writer give up his or her pages. Love them, stroke them, and kiss them goodbye, then put them in the mail. Don’t worry, you’ll feel better as soon as you go to the bank and cash that publisher’s check.

It’s a tough concept to learn. But we’re working on it!


C. L. Beck said...

Aaaw, puppies. How can we ever let them go? And you're correct, our writing is just like our puppies ... it has to grow up and go out into the world.

Good job on this blog.

Keith Fisher said...

I . . . must . . . put it in the box," he said as he struglled to lift the heavy manuscript into the mailbox.
Of course I could never send it in. then if if it gets rejected I would have to blame myself and my illusions would be shattered. what would I hold on to then?
Oh no . . . I think I'll sit in the corner and forget I ever thought of that. Has anyone seen my binky?

Just kidding. Very good points.

Heather B. Moore said...

It reminds me of cutting the apron strings. It's hard to let go. It's hard to get everything into a query. It's hard to get rejected. And now that stamps are 41 cents, so it's even harder on the checkbook.