Five Minute Writing Tip
Letting go takes a load off your shoulders and clears out clutter. By not dwelling on negativity of the past, you live more fully in the moment. So why is it so difficult to do? Humans are probably the only animals that love lugging around their unnecessary baggage. I don't think it's because we're comfortable doing so. We just don't always trust ourselves and are afraid to take risks. But once you let go, a light-hearted freedom results.
What does all this have to do with writing? For me, it's sending out a manuscript after working on it for months, or years, and trusting that it's ready to go. I usually know when that time comes, but not always. I began the manuscript six years ago. I was determined to have it ready to go this summer. I'm close - very close - but I've never been completely satisfied with the first three pages, which are the most important if you're planning to submit to a new agent or different publisher. You have to grab them with the first couple of pages and seal the deal by page five.
This manuscript has been read by at least a dozen people: friends, family, other writers, and professional editors who say they like the opening of the story. But until I can read those pages and pump my fist in the air, I can't seem to let it go. At least that's what I tell myself.
When faced with a difficult decision, I ask, "What's the worst and best that can happen?" With writing, the worst is it gets a cold rejection like, "No thanks, this is not for us." The best is it's accepted with a comment like, "Wonderful piece of work!" But when you really think about it, the worst is not so bad. It means, you have more work to do. It's like getting a second chance (and sometimes a third or forth).
Letting go is not just knowing when to send off that manuscript. It's also letting go of worry about unknown results, and believing everything works out the way it was meant to be.