I have finally made a very difficult decision. It’s been facing me for a while now, quietly reminding me that I needed to do something about it, but I kept denying it. Well, this morning I faced it and made a decision.
Wanderlust will never be finished.
It was hard because Wanderlust was my first ‘real’ book, the first that had potential. But I outgrew it and progressed past it and when I look back… it’s like opening your toy chest when you’re fourteen and realizing you don’t play with those toys anymore. You’ve grown past them. Maybe just a few weeks ago you loved those toys and played with them all day long, but suddenly they don’t hold that wondrous attraction anymore.
And so I look back at Wanderlust and I can’t just go back and pick up the pen again. I know how I want it to end, I know how I would write it. A week or two ago I was looking forward to writing it. But now I just can’t. The last few pages I wrote, I wrote because I had to, not because I really wanted to. I didn’t put myself in it. I wrote like a robot, straight from my outline. And that kind of writing will do nothing to help me progress and learn and grow.
With that realization came the realization that the series it began, Heritage of Heroes, will have to be released too. I’m clinging to Dementophobia, hoping I can finish it just for myself and my friends and never publish it. Just finish it because I want to and because other people want to read it. Dementophobia will now be a stand alone, not the fourth book on the series. I might divide it into two or three books, but that decision will be made later.
When I think about ‘letting go’ of a story, I think about releasing butterflies. They’re beautiful and the experience watching them grow has been fascinating and wonderful. But now they’ve outgrown their containment, you’ve done all you can for them, and it’s time to let them go.
As you open your hands and wait for them to feel the breeze and lift away, it’s a sweet and sad goodbye. They’re too beautiful to keep cooped up just for your enjoyment. Sometimes when a writer let’s go of a book, it’s for publishing, and that goodbye isn’t so sad. Maybe you’ve built a huge outdoor structure to keep your butterflies in, and you can still go visit them and remember, but for the most part, they’re gone, living their own life.
But then you release an unfinished book, letting it go to the land of unfinished projects, you take those butterflies out to the forest with the knowledge that you’ll most likely never ever see them again. They feel the breeze and lift on their paper-thin wings and their beauty grows as you watch them taste real freedom and explore nature for the first time.
And you cling to that hope, that small, 1% of hope that maybe, just maybe, one of them will come back. Because, really, you never know.