Knowing when to let go

Thinking about Thursday

Everyone shelves their first novel, right? That is what I hear from most of writer friends. "Oh, my first novel? It's under my bed (in a file cabinet, locked in my mother's attic, a pile of ashes that were washed down the kitchen sink). Never to see the light of day."
That is what I am thinking about today. The manuscript I have been working on (and working on and working on) is far from my first novel. I have been writing most of my life, so I have completed several others. You want to talk about "never meant to see the light of day"? These would make your heart ache and not in a good way. But, they were all steps in the process.

I suppose this one is, too. I have never put so much work into a manuscript before. I have never had such great beta readers and critique partners before. (Shout out to the terrific Teri Anne Stanley and my NTRWA chaptermate, Genevieve Wilson.) Of course, I have never been this educated about the publishing process before.

Despite all of the crits, all the revisions, all the heart, soul and tears. I think it is time to put this one the shelf. Sadly, not the one in the bookstore I have dreamed of seeing it grace.

I had high hopes of querying it this summer, but it's not ready. I know that and right now, I am too close to it to get it any closer to being ready. We need a break. Some time apart. Maybe I will come back with fresh eyes and all the parts I can't seem to work out will magically fall into place.

So, what do you think? Where is your first novel? How do you know when it is time to just let it go?