Today I embarked on a very difficult task. I had to write a farewell letter to a very dear friend of mine. We have shared a lot over the past 9 years. The funny part about this relationship is that, after all this time, I hardly know any personal details about my friend. I don’t know this person’s full name. I don’t know exactly where my friend lives. I don’t even know what my friend looks like.
I’d like to think that even though we knew very little personal information about each other, we shared a special relationship. I felt I had found my muse’s soulmate.
Recently, I discovered my passion for writing was taking me in a different direction. I thought I could do this with 9 years of stories I had created with my writing partner. I thought we could share the next step together; share the agony of defeat and the glory of success. I hit a wall. My friend did not want to publish *anything* with me.
I was devastated. I felt devalued. I felt like all those years of writing were going to go to waste. I would have to start all over again. I panicked. I freaked out. I scared the hell out of my friend.
I don’t know if I will ever see my friend again. We made an agreement in the beginning that we would never meet in person. My friend is a very private. As my muse’s soulmate, I will always hold him in my heart.
Feeling abandoned, I hunted for other people, other writers. I searched for ways to get around the fact that I had a pile of stuff sitting in my archive files that would never be ink on a paper page or see the light of an e-reader’s screen. I still wanted to use this stuff. My partner said I could go ahead but take out his characters.
A few days ago, I stumbled upon a live chat with Deanna Raybourn, another of my favorite authors. One thing she said...and I will misquote, but this is the gist of it...She said she would never go back to her old stuff because it wasn’t her. She had to let go of it. She had more words of wisdom, but that is what stuck with me and struck me as the lesson I needed to learn.
For NaNoWriMo, I have been trying to rewrite a story I thought would be particularly interesting, and I will admit, marketable. It's from my archives I had written with my friend. It isn't working. I am no longer that person who wrote the kind of characters in that story. Those characters were written in tandem with another person's characters and to gut the story just wasn't right. They will need to live forever together in my archives. Buried.
I have to let go, fix my broken heart and launch myself, free-falling if I have to, into this brave new world of Authorship. I still have hopes I will be able to share successes and failures with my friend. In the meantime, I hope I continue to meet new friends, who just may catch me when I fall.
A quote from another author I found has helped to bolster me on this emotional day. This is from Allison Brennan and her interview at Mysterious Writers.
“Write boldly and with passion, because that’s what it takes to stand out in this tight market. But mostly, write with the love of writing, because even when you curse the computer and your lack of imagination and your fear of failure and your fear of success, even when you think you’re writing total garbage, deep down you love it because it’s you.”
Thank you Allison and Deanna for your words of wisdom.