I’ve never been the kind of writer who thinks of her work as a baby.
The analogy has been used so many times, I’m kind of over it. So, I struggled to figure out a more fitting one. Something that better exemplified my writing life.
I found it yesterday on the play ground of my kids’ school.
We’re new to the school thing. I homeschooled my three last year in hopes of getting into a charter school. And we did get in. I’ll tell you what, that lottery thing is killer to those leaning on the edge of panic like me.
And, yesterday, we went to meet the teachers and have a popsicle (even though the August morning was a bit too chilly for icy treats).
It hit me. This is the first of me really letting them go.
I’ve been with these three pretty much non-stop, without a break for half a decade. I’ve taught them how to hold their spoons, to use their manners, the importance of the potty (we’re still working on closing the door, apparently).
I’ve gone over and over and over all the skills and values and ideas with them that our family holds dear. Sometimes daily. Other times hourly.
And in a few weeks, I’m letting go. Well, a little.
They will have other influences in their lives. Teachers, friends. People who will teach them other things. New things. And old things in fresh ways. They will grow. They might have some bad days. They’ll definitely have some wonderful days. People might criticize my parenting. Other kids might not like mine. I know that a few will. They’ll make new friends. They’ll be loved by their teachers.
Without a doubt, I’ll have a lot of growing to do as a parent.
If that isn’t a larger scale of how I feel about my novels, then I can’t come up with a better one.
I work and work and work on the thing. Day after day. Then, I let it go. Give it to my editor. And it grows and expands. I have a lot of growing to do as a writer.
And some people won’t like it. They’ll find reasons for their aversion. They’ll (ack) write a review saying what they didn’t like. And it will hurt when people I know say those things.
But others might like it. They’ll say nice things.
Fortunately, though, at the end of the day, both the kids and the novel are mine. Really. They came from me.
And, fortunately, I understand that regardless of what people say about my kids and my novels, they are what the Lord has given me. My job as Mom and novelist are part of my bigger calling. And if God is for those two ministries, who can be against them?
It still tugs a few tears from me when I think of letting them go.
Especially the kids. The novel is just paper.