Monday, January 24, 2011

Making it Up as I Go (MUG) Monday: Letting Go

My first Making it Up as I Go Monday post! Henceforth, to be known as MUG Monday, because I'm lazy.
This post is about writing. Seriously. You’ll see. :)
I recently went to a parent teacher conference for my oldest child. He’s in junior high now, so I got the pleasure of knowing a week ahead of time that I would be meeting with not one, but seven different teachers at the same time. Terrified seems too mild.
Just to give you a little background, my son is a very intelligent boy, but he is a boy in the truest sense of the word and he's much too busy for silly things like studying and homework. Though, I will say (quite proudly) that he’s an avid reader. :)
First day of kindergarten 2003
So, even though I was nervous, I wasn’t really surprised by anything they had to say. I just nodded and explained that I was aware and we were working on it—an ongoing battle since his first day of kindergarten. The teachers were actually all quite genuine and I felt like they really want my son to succeed. Sadly, this hasn’t always been the case in the past.
As we were coming to the end of the meeting, his reading teacher said, “Thank you for understanding your son is human.”
What she meant didn’t sink in at first, but she repeated herself a few more times (I’m assuming this is a teaching technique for us slow folks) and my sleep-deprived brain finally caught her meaning. I wasn’t making excuses for my son and allowing him to continue on the dead-end path he was on. Not without a fight anyway. In other words…. Hey, look! I’m not totally failing as a parent after all. :)
Now for the writerly connection….
If you were lucky enough to be my closest crit partner and writerly friend, you would’ve been bombarded with several angsty emails over the last few weeks about the fate of my current (and only complete) brain child. And after her most recent email, where she told me straight out that I needed a break from said brain child, I had a major duh moment.
I’ve become one of those parents whose child can do no wrong. Not only that, I’m a helicopter parent—always hovering and tweaking, always thinking about what I can do to make my child better. Not always a bad thing, but I let myself get too close. I convinced myself she was perfect and any suggestion that required major changes couldn’t possibly be a good suggestion. Even worse, I haven’t allowed myself to see my brain child’s imperfections and accept them so I can do something about them. Bad book parent.
Of course, my crit buddy knew just how to say it so I would finally get it. I know. She’s awesome. No, you can’t have her. Don’t say you’ll fight me for her. You know I’ll win. ;)
So, though it’s extremely difficult after spending the better part of two+ years carrying my baby with me everywhere I go (if only in my head), I’m sending my brain child to space camp for a month or two. Yes, this makes me very sad, but it will be good for everyone. And if I’m a good book mama, when my first born gets back, she’ll have a new little brother to share my time with. :)
What about all of you? Have you had a project you became too obsessed with? Do you always send your brain children to space camp so you don’t get too attached? Does time apart help?


  1. Time apart always helps a ms. That's when I start work on a new project (pre-planning phase). I fall in love with that project, and now my wip doesn't seem so perfect. ;)

  2. Totally agree with Stina.

    A small break away to re-focus and come back with an objective eye is always a good thing.

    Happy writing! ;)

  3. Great post! I've actually done that, started a new project. I have a few queries out, and if I get some nibbles, great. I need a little distance before I know if it's done, done. I have quite a few people yelling, "Query already!" I just wish there was some turkey timer that would pop out of the thing and say "Done!"

  4. Look at how little they are!!

    Believe me, Abby, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do. The whole time I was thinking, oh, God, she's gonna hate me forever. But I get so much joy out of my brood of imaginary children, that I wanted you to know that same joy.

    Just don't tell me I need to know the joy of ACTUAL motherhood, because I don't think I'd make it to the first day of kindergarten. ;)

    Dude, you owe me double now. You got a blog post out of it, too!

  5. Great analogy : P! Yes, I think time apart definitely helps. Hope you find another project to obsess over!

  6. Sometimes even the most obvious things are impossible to see. That's why it's good to have friends who are willing to smack us around with the obvious stick!

    I agree with Tere. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

  7. Yes. Yes. Yes. I've been there. Quite recently in fact. I put my baby away for a while too. Not sure when I'll bring her back out, but I also hope she has a sibling. :)