If You Love Your Book, Let It Go

I finished the latest round of edits on Project Superhero last night and, this morning, began the process of sending the completed manuscript out to a select few readers who have expressed interest in telling me what’s wrong with it. Of course, I’d be happy to know what’s right about it, but that won’t get me any closer to publication.

I’m very happy to finally be at this stage in the game. I’ve taken the novel as far as I can for now and my role, until I start getting some of the feedback in, is to sit back and wait. Or, better yet, to start something new. When I reached the last page last night and felt pretty good about what I had done, I had a giddy moment of realization: “Hey, I can start writing again! Woohoo!” As much as I enjoyed going back through my novel, reliving the good parts and fixing the not-so-good parts before they could reach the eyes of the public, the best part of the writer’s life is composition. There’s nothing better than sitting down in front of that blank computer screen and starting over after a job (hopefully) well done.

I was reading in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird that once she sends a manuscript off to her proofreaders that she can hardly stand it until she hears back from them. She goes on to say that she knows people who can just jump right in on the next project, but doesn’t understand them. I’m one of those people. My job, as I see it, is to take the novel as far as I can and then hand it over to others to take further. I’ve been through Project Superhero (still no title, sigh) so many times now that I can quote whole passages, but I’ve come to the point where I must pass it on to new eyes. Now that I’ve done that, my job is not to sit and wait, but to start anew. If I wait a month to hear back from my readers, that’s a month wasted that could have been used writing something else. Hopefully, something even better than what I just sent out.

I will probably spend a few weeks working on some shorter stuff–perhaps a few shorts and maybe a novella, but I’ve already been thinking about what novel I’ll do next and I’m still undecided. The one I want to write is the one I feel like I’m least ready to write, but I felt the same way before I started Project Superhero. Maybe that’s a sign. If so, it’ll be a total departure from anything else I’ve ever written, a challenge both exciting and scary as hell. Regardless, I’ll be very glad to get back to the blank screen.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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