Friday, January 29, 2010

A Good Place to Stop

At this time of the year people are all about fresh starts. A new year, a new focus, a new direction. Its time to get up and go and get things done but do we know when to stop?

I'm not talking about throwing your hands up in frustration and giving up but the time when you know that you have done everything you can and now you must let go. Do you know? Do I?

I am a great starter. I start to reorganize, start reading a book, start writing a book, start crafting, start a project, start a relationship but I do not know when to stop. Someone once said for every mile of road there is two miles of ditch and that's me. Some things I quit too easily like cleaning out the closets, new craft projects and bad books. Other things I just can't let go of.

For me, right now, its a book. I completed this manuscript three years ago. I submitted it to an agent and was rejected. I polished it up, sent it to another agent and was rejected (I must say it was a lovely rejection letter, I kept it). Submit, reject, repeat for the better part of two years. Now, I knew about 8 months into this process that this book was essentially unsellable (is that even a word?) but I didn't want to let it go because it represented four years of work. Four years of late nights, solitude and self doubt. Four years of working out the plot, developing characters and shaping the story. Four years. Four years.

I know I need to let this book go and in truth I don't even like it anymore. I don't like the plot and biggest writer sin of all I don't like my main character. Its time to let go. But I can't. I should but I can't.

Just when I talk myself into putting the stupid thing in a drawer and moving on my mind starts to spin and I come up with a thousand ideas of how I can brush it up and make something readable out of it. I know in my heart that its crazy talk but when you spend the better part of 7 years with something its just not that easy to walk away.

Or is it?


Seems like a big jump I took just there but its not.

We all know people who are separated, divorced or in our opinion should be. We have friends who jumped ship as soon as the waters got rough and others who have tied themselves to the mainmast and are sinking fast. Neither is the right thing to do. Giving up on your marriage because your bored or don't feel appreciated is selfish and impulsive but putting yourself in physical or emotional peril and becoming a martyr for your marriage is just plain crazy.

I don't have the answer here. I'm just asking the question. Asking you to ask the question. Is this a good place to stop?

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