I’m sitting here, ready to finally send my contemporary MG novel into the crowded inboxes of kidlit agents, and I’m relieved and overwhelmed all at once. Is this similar to how I’ll feel when I eventually send my son to his first day of school? Excited for him to stand on his own among other kids but terrified that he’s not ready to be without me?
It’s time to let go. I know that. I feel it. My novel is practically whispering, “Query me.” But gosh, it’s nerve wracking!
It all goes back to self-doubt and that nagging feeling that no matter how many times I’ve worked over my manuscript, it isn’t ready. I’m beyond proud of the story. My critique group has offered kudos and feedback on multiple versions. As the current draft stands, they can’t poke anymore holes in it. A good sign. A sign to set it free and forget about it for a while.
The writer and editor in me knows that there’s always room for improvement. That no matter how many drafts I write, there’s another direction to take the story. A different way of framing it. An alternative take on a scene, a chapter, a piece of dialogue. The possibilities never end. Iterations are endless. But at a certain point in time, after working on a novel for years, I have to let it try to stand on its legs.
The mama in me wants to coddle it, hold onto it a bit longer. But I know if I’m going to learn anything about what I’ve done, I need to set it free, at least for a little while. See where it goes, if it comes back to me, or if it makes it out there in the wide world.
So here I go.