Letting Go

booksHere’s another thing that I do and might actually be of help to you: I write a story, a blog post, a novel, and then I let it go. Of course, not before I rewrite and edit the hell out of it. But I always let it go. The moment it goes live on Amazon or whatever, it’s no longer my book.

Not sure if it makes much sense.

The moment you buy any of my books and read it, that’s when that book becomes yours. And only yours. And you can take from it anything you want. You can love it, you can hate it, you can love me or hate me, but at that point I no longer care.

I find that’s the only way to actually “survive” as an artist. At least, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head every time someone tells you they hate your work. And it’s the only way to actually get past that paralyzing fear of rejection, that stupid voice inside your head telling you, over and over again, that your book is not good enough yet, that you need to work on it a little bit more… and so you spend so much time editing the same fifty thousand words that they stop feeling yours anymore.

So, yeah, you have to let go.

I write a book, I release it, and then I never read it again, while being perfectly aware that it’s not perfect. But I’m also aware that it’s never going to be perfect, and it’s never going to please everyone.

Some of you might take it the wrong way and think that this means you get to release lousy first drafts, just because you don’t care what others might think about your stories. No. You get to release a novel and don’t cry yourself to sleep every time someone writes a one star review about your book.

The process of writing… you can’t afford to be careless about that. No one gets to be that way.

To be honest with you, it’s best to be a bit arrogant as an artist. To believe you’re doing the world a favor. To let them hate you. Otherwise, every bad review you get, every harsh comment or e-mail, will just make you want to give up.

But until you release that story or painting or whatever, until you get it out there, for the world to love or destroy, it’s your story, and it’s only yours, to do with it as you please.

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11 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Whole heartedly agree. The books I have published have become but fragments of remembrance now. Whilst the premise is still known, the intricacies have been lost. I seldom look to see how they’re performing sales wise now, my focus very much attuned to that which I’m currently working on.

  2. It makes perfect sense. I’m finishing up a project today and now that I know I’m about to self publish I hear my inner critic screaming at me. You really do have to detach from it or else you would go insane.

  3. I write a book, I release it, and then I never read it again, while being perfectly aware that it’s not perfect. But I’m also aware that it’s never going to be perfect, and it’s never going to please everyone. That is great advice!! As I sit here looking at some of my work and each time I look I start to not like it, and eventually I even hate my own work! I’m just trying to get my own voice with my work/blog.. When i was in college that arrogance as an artist was so much easier!

  4. Very interesting idea. I’m currently in the process of writing my first novel, and to be honest, I’ve been dragging my feet. There’s several reasons why, but the biggest, most paralyzing one is fear of “no”. Nope, uh uh, fuck that shit, and all the variations of it.
    This is my life dream, what I’ve always wanted to do. Now I have this (what I feel is a) great idea and I’m too chicken shit to take the chance of someone telling me I’m not good enough.

  5. I like to call it “abandoning” it. It’s never done, and always could be better, but why bother? There is more to do than to become a prisoner of my own creativity. Better to let it flourish and grow by abandoning what has been created before.
    I really enjoy your philosophy.

    • Indeed. It’s more like giving up. It’s a finished product, but you know you could always make it better. Of course, this is one of the ilusions of art: we can make it different, but not necesarily better. And never perfect.

  6. This is beautiful, and I totally agree. Even if I’m like, updating a chapter on Wattpad that I JUST finished, it feels nice to just let the work be out there. I’m not really bothered with reads or anything like that now. I used to, but then I realized that what truly matter is I’m happy with just letting people read what I’ve produced.

  7. Spot on. I’ve been a working writer for 30 years and the only way to succeed in this business is to do the best you can in the time allotted. Once it’s done; it’s done. People are sometimes amazed when they ask me about my latest book or article and I can’t remember the details. It’s because you have to let it go completely. And you’re so right in that it’s not about doing a sloppy job; it’s about setting a deadline and handing it in. To me, deadlines produce better work than open delivery times.

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