Friday, October 22, 2010

Letting Go

I am dropping in as a guest today, grateful for all the stimulating posts this semester. I appreciated Ron writing about letting go of details, trusting the iceberg holding the story up. Anne and Lisa wrote about letting go of articles that tell us which genres are selling and thus what we should be writing. Kelly wrote about letting go of pre-ordained structure and using elements from all aspects of our lives to deepen our stories.

I am working on letting go - of time. I hoard time. I plan my writing times every day, like if I get in so many hours I can control the outcome. And then I get an email - picture book publication delayed yet again due to illustrations not ready. Another email that editorial decision about one of my projects will be coming soon. I wait. And I wait.

But I must write. I can't live if I don't write. But how to write without anxiety about the outcome? When Anne and I presented on the writing life at a residency a couple of years ago, she said something like, “If I am only happy on the days I get a contract offer or a great review, I am looking at one unhappy life.” Can writers be happy when outcomes are so dependent on waiting and wondering?

Yes. Yes. We can be happy if we're putting words on paper. We can be happy when we get an insight that only comes from the writing, not the talking about the writing. We can be happy sharing with other writers or reading a great book. We can be happy closing down our computers and trusting that the words will be there again, even with the deadline of a Hamline packet due tomorrow and tomorrow.

Be happy. Let go. CRM


  1. Thanks for this, Claire! A great reminder. The work must sustain us (at least emotionally).

  2. Yes, thanks Claire. As someone who has no deadlines now, no Hamline mentor prodding me along, there is such a fear that somehow if I don't keep to the amazing writing schedule I had that the writing will dry up. Perhaps if I could let go a little bit from my past (a few short months ago...but getting irritatingly longer every day) I could write more. What a concept. And thanks for the reminder of Anne's quote. That's a keepa'! (as they say in Mass.)

  3. "We can be happy when we get an insight that only comes from the writing, not the talking about the writing." A wonderful line in a wonderful post. Thanks.