Learning to let go…again

Feeling a little edgy this evening as I sent out my precious Montgomery paper to the editors who will decide its fate. I’ve tweaked and twiddled and had others look it over for anything glaring that I might have missed. I’ve reworked and revised until I think that I covered every possible angle. I have done my due diligence and can do no more.

It is done and sent and I cannot take it back.

There is a part of me that wants to go over the paper again and make sure that what I sent was perfect. But, that would probably just make me even more doubtful.

The thing I know is, that no one has quite done what I set out to do in this paper. And, I’ve felt so close to it for so long, that it is hard to imagine that it is done. Although, probably not, as there are always some kind of revision I suspect. Hopefully it won’t be, “re-write this drivel.”

Like when I sent off my application to the VCFA, I knew that it was out of my control now. I’ve sent something that came from me. I realized today that there is no difference between the novel that I’m working on, or the review I might give for a book, or, this paper. It all comes from me. Which means that whatever I put out into the world has significance for me.

I keep thinking about the idea of being unattached to things. How does one remain unattached to the identity as something when one has worked so hard to gain that sense of themselves? How does one distance themselves from their work, when they’ve spent the last 10 months working on something?

And all of those old feelings are creeping in:

Who am I to think that I could write an academic paper?
Who am I to think that I might be included among these wonderful scholars?
They are going to hate it.
Did I cover every angle?
Did I source everything correctly?
Would they think that I’m ridiculous?

But I keep breathing. Congratulating myself on finishing a project that I started and finished on my own. There was no one looking over my shoulder this time telling me to look up certain things or go back and find some other nuance I may have overlooked. Everything I did was on my own. The idea came from me and me alone. No one told me to send in the proposal or fly to P.E.I. and give a talk or answer the call for papers.

It was all me.

And maybe that is part of it too. If this comes from me and I fail. What was it all for? What does this say about me? Am I just fooling myself?

What I do know is this:

This is the thing that I have to do. I’m not being paid to do it.
It had to be written.
I loved every minute of it and cannot wait to do it again.

So, for today, I must trust in what happens next.

At least, I have to try.


About Melanie J. Fishbane

My novel, MAUD: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery was published in 2017 through Penguin Random House on April 25, 2017. I hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Here I talk about my writing process, things I love, and creative people who inspire me.
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2 Responses to Learning to let go…again

  1. I'm so impressed, Melanie. I wish I could say it's easy to detach one's self from the outcome when so very much work, love, blood, sweat, other bodily fluids are involved, but I don't know that it's possible. It sounds like you wrote the paper of your heart, and no matter what the outcome there's that…and writing THROUGH the doubts and the fears is the important part. I'm crossing my fingers for you!

  2. Thanks Erin. I appreciate you taking the time to send me your positive words. Thank you for the crossed fingers. 😉

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