It's that time of the year when I say goodbye to so many of the children I've sung/read to over the past year or even years. A lot of my Tinies move onto Creche or Day Care as Mum goes back to work, and a lot of my Storytimers move onto school. All very exciting and important steps in their lives, vital for the future...

It's all part of letting go. And this is a step I have no say in. It's a natural progression (and often they do return to the library to tell me all about school and how their reading is going - one came in yesterday to show me the certificate he got for the Premier's Reading Challenge).

But how hard is to let go of a piece of work?

Sometimes, and we all know we do this, we send something off far too early. Because the deadline looms and we had to send something, or perhaps because we just didn't care enough. And most times once it has been sent out of our control we know how rushed and unfinished it is. But most of us also hang on to something way too long and we work it and we work it, we keep it for a while, reread it, then work it some more.

Often it has very little in common to the original creative spark that fired it into existence.

So when is a work finished?

It's like asking how long is a short story.....one of those questions that remain very hard to give a satisfying answer to.

Dare I say that often it is like making scones. If you put all the correct ingredients together and knead, you have lovely fluffy light scones. If you overwork the dough...they become flat rocks best left for skimming along the top of lakes and rivers.

I'm not saying that you want your novel/short story/poem/article/play to be light and fluffy---but you don't want it to be over worked.

It needs the right ingredients (often hard enough to know exactly what is needed and what is just sugary fluff sprinkled on the top)- and just enough handling.

I don't think I am ever 100% happy with what I send out. I always think of a word to tighten, a phrase to delete, a character that could have taken a tangent- I always think I could have done so much more.

But if I had kept everything I had ever written and not sent anything out I wouldn't have had the fun I've had.... wouldn't have my small collection of books and magazines on the shelf- would never have won prizes- read my work out- performed at various gigs and events- met the inspiring and creative people that I have met over the years.

As a writer we don't want to send out crap---pure and simple---however we also don't want to be known as the 'writer still working on that one masterpiece' many years later.  If something isn't working - leave it for now- return to it later or not at all. Start something new and exciting.

And if you have to rework and rework something- mould it and fold it- carve it up into pieces and then painstakingly stick them back together again....put it down to experience. We are always learning...and perhaps this is your time to learn about you and the way you work.

Perhaps there is a reason why you don't want to finish it?

Perhaps it is too close to your truth?

Perhaps you are afraid of letting it go?


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