From conception to gestation to birthing an idea, letting it grow, watching it falter and helping it mature there seems to be an odd parallel to having a child and rearing it. It’s a child of thoughts, one of the mind.
There’s not comparison to having an actual child. But writers will know what I mean.
I have no children, but in a very condensed form this is what I imagine it would feel like.
The joy of a new idea forming compares to very little else. Especially when it’s a good one, you can feel its potential and you imagine what it might become. Then it sits there and you wait to see what you might be able to do with it. It gets nourished by whatever influences may be prevalent at the time.
Eventually you will sit down and take a pen to it, giving it breath. Let there be life, you say and so it will be.
There are ideas that will never see the light of day. There are comparisons I could draw, but I don’t think I need to nor should I. Let’s stay with those that you do manage to hold onto and that will become more than the initial spark.
You shape them, add to them, take some things away again. Eventually you find you have a story. It came out of nowhere and now here it is. It has a life of its own. It manages to stand on its own legs and it can make you smile or cry or even despair. You look at it from all sides, add some more here, subtract a little there. You seek the impossible, you seek perfection.
There are moments when you will think it worthless. You will think you failed. You wonder how you could ever birth such a thing, where it came from and what you’re meant to be doing with or about it. Then you discover that you loved it all along and want to keep it save and sound and let no harm come to it.
And maybe it’s not perfect. Maybe it’s not what you imagine it should be. Maybe there will always be the worry that it might not be able to survive on its own.
That is when you have to let it go. Like parents with children, we will never stop worrying about the stories we gave birth to. We did all we could, hopefully it was our best, then we just have to let go. Trying to change them or influence them may very well turn back on us. It could get ugly.
I have a hard time letting go. I wrote this story that I like, but it’s not perfect, I know that. I don’t know what I think of it, perhaps it is even a failure. But it’s there and whatever its intention was, I am unable to work more on it without destroying what I’ve written. I don’t want to do that.
It’s not that I am happy with it or that I don’t think it is the best it could be, it probably isn’t. I am simply at a point where I need to let it go. It will stand or it will fall, but trying to change it now, would do nothing for it. I would have to start from scratch, and maybe I will, one day.
I think, given a chance, most works would be rewritten by their authors, because of all the flaws only they can see and nobody else. But that would take away the gift they have given to those who thought the story flawless.
I may never be truly ready to let something I wrote go, but what would be the point in holding onto it? The thing is also, the more easily it came to me, the easier it is to just put it out there. But when I worked hard on it, that’s when it becomes difficult.
I’m letting it go. It’s all I can do, even though I don’t quite know how.