Letting Go: A Book is Like a Child

letting go

Who knows what they’ll encounter out there? (Wikipedia)

The process of letting go of a manuscript is a lot like sending a child into the world.

I’ve done it a number of times (manuscripts AND children) and it doesn’t get any easier.

I sent a manuscript to my editor this week; a book I’ve been researching and writing for nearly two years.

It’s close to my heart.

I can’t believe it’s gone.

But it is.

Here’s how letting go of my manuscript reminded me of letting go of my children.

Am I really done?

When I put my first child on the school bus long ago, my heart leaped.

He was old enough to go, happy to climb the bus and greet the driver.

But I bit back my words, “wait! I haven’t taught you everything you need to know yet.”

schoolbus

Off to school! (Wikipedia)

He grinned at me and waved.

The door swung shut.

It’s the same with this manuscript I’ve groomed and edited and read and run spellcheck and sighed over.

Have I put in everything it needs?

I hope so.

Who will care as much as me?

No one.

That’s a fact of life.

Oh, maybe my husband will care because he has to live with me and my–face it–grief over releasing my child and my book into the world.

But he didn’t carry either in his heart or under his skin like I have.

My mom friends get it and will sympathize. So will my writer friends.

It’s nice some people understand!

Can I trust others with my child or book?

That’s the eternal mother question about letting go.

Will the teacher appreciate how brilliant, charming and sweet my boy is?

Will the editor love my book?

Maybe.

Is that good enough?

It has to be.

If I’m letting go, is my job done?

Of course not.

I still love and advise my children and would love to keep them safe all the time.

But they are their own people now with their own lives and families.

My task of preparing them for life is done.

I’ll love them and be interested in them forever.

letting goThey may do things that make no sense to me, but their choices and decisions belong to them.

My book is in the editor’s hands now.

The editor will make changes–and will consult me–but my research and most of my writing work is done.

I’ll love it (and the subjects) forever, but it’s time for the book to make it’s own way into the world.

It will stand on its own merits.

But I doubt I’ll ever stop talking about or telling stories about my children or my book!

How will letting go change me–and my child or manuscript?

Pieces of my heart and life are out in the world.

Some people will love them, others will not.

It’s out of my hands now, except to rejoice over the good and weep over the bad.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to raise four children and publish eight books.

I’m wiser, kinder, more sympathetic and appreciative.

I listen more.

But it’s always hard letting go of something you love, isn’t it?

Tweetables

Letting go–of a manuscript or a child–is hard. Click to Tweet

Writing and child rearing–exercises in letting go. Click to Tweet

The similarities of letting a manuscript and a child out into the world. Click to Tweet

 

 

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