Letting go of one story to begin another

I’m very excited about my new fiction project. It started as one short piece, but it sparked so many other ideas that I think it could actually be a cohesive collection of stories.

The hard part was giving myself permission to pursue the ideas.

I haven’t written a short story in at least five years. I’ve been telling myself that if I was going to write fiction, it would have to be my novel; that 14 year-old albatross that fills me with creative dread. I have written and revised thousands of words of that story. One draft sits in a lovely manuscript box on my desk, other drafts and files with bits and pieces of murdered darlings sits inside my computer.

Over the years it became harder and harder to get back into that novel after a writing lapse. I would forget what I’d written; I would lose the thread structurally and emotionally. I’d get lost and feel overwhelmed. Inevitably I would walk away again.

Part of the problem is that I am not the writer who started that novel. I am a different person now. Back then I was the married stay-at-home mom of an 8 year-old and an 11 year-old. Now the 11 year-old is a young man with a career and an upcoming wedding and the 8 year-old is a young woman about to graduate from University.

Raising children changed me.

Events and innovations in the wider world have changed me.

My husband and I are now eligible for the seniors’ discount at our local Shoppers Drug Mart. That changes a person too.

So I had to decide if I was going to admit narrative defeat, at least for now, and allow myself to court new characters. And I decided that yes, I would.

I’m looking forward to discovering who I am as a creative writer now.

Note: I just noticed that my last post was titled I am very excited about life right now, and this piece begins with I’m very excited about my new fiction project. My first thought was that I’d need to change one of the two, because otherwise I’d look a bit too… well… too excited about everything. But you know what? I am excited these days, so I’m going to own it. 🙂

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