Leaving It Behind
I’m in the editing process for my new novel.
My narrator, like myself (what a coincidence), digresses quite a bit as she tells her story. One story reminds her of another story, which reminds her of another story. But all these little side trips advance the plot or reveal her character or someone else’s.
But sometimes the narrator digresses a little too far. I had nothing to do with this of course – it is all her fault. But my editor has pointed out that a few of these side trips don’t really advance the storyline. They have to go.
Oh, that makes me so sad. I know there are some authors who doubt every word they write. They worry that their writing is garbage. That’s not me. I love all the words I create. Every sentence is my baby.
One particular non-essential side-trip needed to be cut entirely. It was obvious that the whole thing had to go because lifting it out didn’t make one bit of difference to the story. So okay – out you go.
But here’s the sad part. This little anecdote was really cute.
I know, I know… since I’m in love with my own writing, I realize it may not actually be as wonderful as I think it is. But it’s like when you know your child is a genius even though he’s almost nine and still pronounces it ‘pasghetti.’ He’s your kid. He’s endearing, not weird.
I could save those few paragraphs. Maybe use them someday in some other story. Maybe I could make a blog out of that anecdote. That would be a stretch though, since it totally fictitious. Perhaps I can use it as an allegory.
Ah, wait. That’s what I’m doing now.
Because sometimes something you love just isn’t working for you anymore.
It might be a job or a relationship. It may be as simple as a favorite pair of jeans that are falling apart. Or as complex as a friendship that suddenly feels painful.
But whatever it is, you love it. You don’t really want to stop loving it.
Years ago, I left a job that that had turned very unpleasant. A job I had devoted myself to for fifteen years. I loved that job. But the last year or two had been awful. When I left, I felt terrible for a long time. I hated that job and what it had become. But eventually – thankfully -I saw it differently. I saw it as a great job. It was a shame that it wasn’t a good fit at the end, but that’s all it was – a good job that didn’t last forever.
Like my discarded anecdote, I think you have to say goodbye to good things that are no longer quite so good.
Love what it used to be. Love what it used to mean to you.
So what did I do with the unnecessary but cute anecdote?
I didn’t save it for another day.
I hit ‘delete.’
My novel is fine. I am fine.
I’m glad I wrote it. I’m glad I let it go.