Hanging On and Letting Go

I have been working on my first middle grade novel for a while now, and after some serious revisions and another read by two valued 12-year old readers, I felt like it was in a really good place. My goal is to have the manuscript out to agents before the end of the year.

My last task was to have my writing partner Joanna read it. Joanna has been with Amelia’s story since it was just a germ of an idea, and she always gives me insightful and valuable advice. I was sure she would bless the manuscript, and I would send it on its way (okay, in retrospect, that was a little optimistic of me).

What I got instead was lots of feedback. On the nose, “you’re absolutely right” feedback. Feedback I didn’t want to hear. Sigh. I thought I was done!

Yes, I understand the fluid nature of writing. And I know that the manuscript will never be perfect. Perhaps I was really mad at myself for not seeing the important things that Joanna saw. But then, that’s what a good writing partner is for, right?

I’ve been spending the last few days trying to not be discouraged by the work still ahead on this novel. Tonight I was out in my garden, seeing what was still growing at this late point in the season. Most of the garden is slowly dying- wilting, browning, and bending over to the ground as if  to say, “I’m tired. Time for a rest until next year.”

Green beans and potatoes

Amongst the failing leaves and shrivelled up stems, I found green beans. TONS of green beans. Once my pole beans get started, they really produce. I can typically go out and harvest plenty for dinner twice a week for about 4 to 6 weeks. I also saw some new potatoes peeking up. I thought they were done! Reaching into the moist dirt, I found potato after potato. Plenty for Sunday dinner tomorrow night (With butter! I can taste them already).

As I brought in the overflowing bowl of vegetables, I was struck at the feeling of unexpected bounty. Perhaps I should feel the same way about my novel? When I thought it was finished, there was more to come. In the case of the garden, it was wonderful and yummy. So why not the novel too?

So next week I will dig back into revisions, with green beans and potatoes on my mind. Hopeful of the great possibilities yet to come with Amelia’s story.

Are you mourning the end of summer? Or something else you don’t want to end? Perhaps there is more to come. Not what you had planned, but possibly even better.

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