Killing Your Darlings

Blog 20

I recently ended a friendship that meant a lot to me. I cried about it, talked to some of my other friends about it. But when everything was said and done, I also felt a sense of relief, which is how I knew it was the right choice.

It’s really hard to let go of something you thought would work out. If you’re like me, you take endings especially hard. There is just something about having to let go of someone you know well and have shared good times with. It’s hard when you have invested your hopes and dreams in them.

It’s equally difficult to let go of a project you love. Over my twenty plus years as a writer, I have written so many things that no one else will ever read. My first completed novella was truly my baby. It was dark and weird and good, raw good. The kind of good that maybe isn’t suitable for publication but is still so meaningful. I look back at it now and I understand why it wasn’t published. I look back and am okay with it not being published. Still, at the time, not being able to share it with the world was heartbreaking.

That’s how I’ve come to feel about my Blessed Be project, which didn’t sell. I look back at the project and see a few obvious issues. The plot was slow. I never did quite get the hang of the whole magic thing in the book. Some of the characters still need work.

When I first wrote it, Blessed Be was a love story for the woman I recently ended my friendship. I needed to write the book to understand her better. To understand us. It’s a nice idea in theory, but it has been three years now that we have been teetering on the edge of something, and I am tired of wondering. The whole situation has left me exhausted. Her, too.

Bottom line, it just wasn’t right. Just like Blessed Be wasn’t exactly right.

If you struggle with endings like I do, read some Pema Chödrön.

Part of my work in therapy is learning that not everything is going to be just right all the time. On occasion, things are not going to work out, and while it may not seem like it, usually it’s for the best. The timing may be off. Or maybe something greater is on the way.

As writers, we have to learn when to put a project away and when to keep working. Sometimes, we are just trying too hard. If we let a piece be and move on to another, sometimes the issue will become apparent. It’s hard but it takes trust in our own intuition and faith in the universe that what’s supposed to be, will be.

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

― Pema Chödrön

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