Thursday, December 9, 2010

The blind presenting suggestions to the sighted...

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I think it was to let my angel project go fallow for a while at least. I think it's likely mostly-permanently shelved, but of course there is always the chance some part or other will be resurrected and transplanted somewhere else. But it's knowing when to leave well alone that makes the difference and keeps you from beating your head against a brick wall.

I've let projects go in the past and it always hurts. The Sphere and the Singer, my first attempt at a fantasy epic, was started when I was eleven years old. I worked on it and worked on it for years, writing and rewriting the same beginning and scenes over and over again. It went nowhere. It stagnated even as I tried to breathe new life into it time and time again. It was painful when I finally put it on the shelf. I had grown so much in the years I worked on it that it was no longer recognizable. It had grown like a tumor and all that I could do with it was cut it off. I still find elements of it here and there in my writing and I still have fond memories of Gregory, Chris and Burt, but they've been more or less retired.

Sometimes I'm ashamed with myself for letting projects go. I mean, if I put that much effort, that much promise into a project, am I really going to just drop it like that? Isn't that quitting? Giving up? Surrendering? Can't you just make it work? I'm a believer that to get something done, you have to do it. Just relying on bursts of inspiration isn't going to work.

However, I still allow for the occasion of the dead horse and I won't force myself to beat it. Sometimes a project just becomes too unwieldy, too close, too much, and the best way to deal with it is to put it aside, let some distance happen, some objectivity take root, and move on to something else. Maybe you'll come back to it. Maybe you won't. In any case, you have learned something from that experience, even if it's just to "never try something like that again".

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