Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Letting Go

I've been thinking a lot about letting go lately. My son's first day of college was last Monday. He's in a program where he will earn college credit as he finishes his high school diploma. Great program. They want all their kids to be a success so they get lots of support. With the ice princess in high school that means I have no children at home to homeschool, so in a blink of an eye, I am done being a homeschooling mom, an identity I have had for the last 12 years or so.

I loved being a homeschooling mom. I watched as my children learned to read and understand the basic concepts of math. (turns out that was all I could teach them!)While other moms put their kid on the bus for the first time, my children and I snuggled up in the bed to read some books. I was a homeschool Mom and my life was good. (This is about writing, I promise)

About halfway through my journey, I discovered the Internet and a way to make my long dormant dreams of becoming a writer true. I threw myself into writing with a passion. I had always written, but the Internet allowed me to rub virtual elbows with other writers and learn about the business and when I chose to write, I wrote about homeschooling. I wrote essays for homeschooling magazines and hit upon a column or two. Soon, I had a book out. As my children grew, I branched out and wrote of other things. When my next book was in process, I decided to make it for all moms and Day Tripping was born.

You can't be a writer and not learn how to let go. Ideas and articles are rejected, magazines and markets fold. Books don't sell. The letting go process should get easier, but it doesn't. When I scored my agent, a couple months shy of a year ago, I thought I would be a published author by now. It didn't happen and I find myself having to let go of On the Edge and the Rink Rats series. No, it's not completely dead, but its getting there. LIPS went out almost three weeks ago and it still hasn't sold yet. I know, it usually takes longer than that, but so many of my friends sold within a couple of weeks of their manuscript going out that I just assumed... It's good, better than anything I've written. But it's time I let go of the idea that LIPS would sell right out of the starting block.

I look down the road and I only have a few more years until my children are both gone. Even as I've had to let go of being a homeschooling mom, I will have to let go of being active mom... the one in control. But I'll always be a mom. Just like I will always be a writer... even if I have to let go of manuscripts, I will always be a writer.


cin said...


This is a great post! I think we all had some ideas of what would happen when we started writing. 99% of those things are not going to happen, at least not when we expected them to.

I had to let go of a major chunk of one of my stories. It was the part of the story that inspired everything, and it did get a lot of praise, but ultimately it had to go. The story changed around it so much that it became distracting and unnecessary. I've been sick about cutting it. But I did it. And I know the story is stronger for it.

Just like everything you are going through is making you a stronger writer.


Rachel Vincent said...

I'm sorry, Teri. And I agree. Letting go (of anything) is one of the very hardest things we have to do in life. I hope that when you do sell, the publisher will want to re-consider some of your earlier work. That happened for Gena, you know.

So let go if you have to, but don't give up.

A martini may be in order... ;-)