I’ve been talking about a particular novella that I’ve been meaning to publish for some time. I tell myself and others every year that this is the year it’s going to be published or one last edit and I’ll have it on kindle soon. But with each passing year it felt more and more like a distance dream. Till 2016.
I thought this would be the final year of editing. I really will edit this one last time and then have it out by summer. I really thought it was going to happen. But only in the past 48 hours have I come to realise…that it’s not happening.
This novella has been in the works for the past 5 years. It was a good idea and I was over the moon about how well it was developing. Not to mention how proud I was I was seriously writing and getting to the end of completing my first ‘real’ piece of writing. But I finished editing it 2 and a half years ago, and still it remains on my memory stick. I’ve revisited it many times; sometimes with the excitement of seeing an old friend. At other times with the feeling of visiting an unpleasant aunty who always cusses your family but still gets invited to all your family weddings; the visit of duty instead of love.
Eventually, the realisation hit me: I can’t serve an undercooked cake to the world. It’s the state in which I see my novella. It’s come out of the oven with it’s sides slightly overdone but it’s centre still raw. I can decorate it with frosting but the heart of the cake is still undone. You can’t save a cake like that, even after you’ve tried putting it back in, with it still coming out undercooked. I tried to change the pace, style of writing, the events, setting etc etc to make it work, yet I always felt it was lacking that umph that every story needs.
Even though I spent a lot of time on it, I know I can’t spend any more. So I’m parting with it. I can’t say if I’ll ever go back to change it up in a big way to make it something I see fit to publish, but I’m putting it into my recycling bin for when I feel I’m ready to meet with it again.
As writers and artists of other kinds, it can be hard to part with something you have worked so diligently and lovingly on. My hopes of getting my work published have been put on hold again, but for all the right reasons. Rather that I cut my losses and start afresh on the other projects I’ve left parked to the side, than to put out a piece of work I wasn’t even 50% happy with. It’s an important step to take, being able to put work away and move on. But there’s no shame or harm in that.
It’s a turning point for me. I’ve been in a dilemma over this novella for some time. Feeling the need to finish and publish it so that I could move on to other pieces. Then feeling like I had abandoned something I’ve worked on for so long when I did work on other pieces; I was trapped by my own work. It was holding me back more than I realised and I had to finally think about what piece was worth pursuing over another. Right now, I’m feeling mighty free and excited; I have other projects planned and know I can still use the experience of writing the novella to improve my works from now on.