My draft of Execution, the 5th book in the CL Bluestein thriller Seduction Series, has left my hands, electronically, for those of my content editor. I’m expecting it back with comments and suggestions in two weeks, give or take. This is my fifth time doing this. I expected to be used to it. But no, I’m not.
Inside, my doubting creative side is panicking. I’ve lined up two weeks of chores I’ve been avoiding and a ‘to do’ list. Distraction is key. It’s been only a few days, and it’s not working so well. My mind is both overthinking and backseat driving. There are parts maybe I could change or done better. Sections I could omit or simply allude to. Endings which veer from expectations or not. Wait. I need to get it back. Rethink it. Rewrite it. Toss it.
Obsessing doesn’t help or change anything . Breathing helps as does walking my dogs. Napping works, too.
I’m at the point where every creative, who puts their work out for public enjoyment and/or scrutiny encounters and questions, when is enough “enough?” At what point do you put the pen down, clean the paintbrush, score the last note, stop tweaking the performance? When is the artistic vision realized and ready to share? The process of letting go is universal.
Done. Finished. Executed. Built. Written. Sculpted. Danced. Played. Ready to stand on its own. Separate from the creative. The baby is birthed. The life of the piece is now in the minds and hands of others to read, watch, see, critique, and experience. Others. Faceless. Yet, in an odd way, like-minded strangers. Invited. Come and enjoy this with me.
Some creatives never reach “enough.” Nothing is ever finished, ready, or complete. Works sit in attics, on easels, in notebooks, on post-it notes, or swirl endlessly in thoughts.
For me, never finishing is a burden far worse than letting go.
Now, with the first draft finished, my mind is free to wander. I look around with vision renewed, free from the manuscript, to contemplate “How’d that happen?” or “How did I/we get here?” or get at least one ‘to-do’ item done and off the list. Yes, the mundane always creeps in, perhaps to give my life balance – which I’ve never asked for but apparently need.
Letting go is much more than delivering a piece of art. It’s a form of renewal, by choice, accident, or self-preservation. Letting go of the past frees up a new and different now and future. Where I might not have had control due to my age and agency, I can now move forward with intention.
It was not easy losing one or more of the foundations, philosophies, and relationships on which I built my life. At some point, more therapy needed to be exact, I recognized the bullshit and then went blind. Navigating others’ expectations, I managed to survive unscathed until widowhood. Then, I, who had never lived alone or solely by my own decisions, stared into an abyss.
Always worth it… eventually.
My survival, as I saw it, depended on letting of past expectations and forging new perspectives, an informational and experiential ongoing activity. I believe the artistic process (regardless of form), the weaving together of mind, materials, and presentation, is essential to change. It brings the ephemeral into focus and gives the unseen form. Most important, the creation is real, tangible, a personal expression to keep, explore, expand, share, or destroy.
The choice, having a choice, is power.