Wednesday, September 2, 2009


So, today I walked my middle child to his first day of kindergarten. Needless to say, I'm a wreck. I have spent most of the last five years helping him pursue safe activities. Last night he brought a stepping stool into the water-filled bath, so he could reach up high. He has been known to walk to his best friend's house, without shoes on, in the snow, at six in the morning. (His best friend's mom just calmly sits him in front of the TV, calls me, and waits for me to wake up and come get him.) He watches TV upside-down, balancing on his head. He believes he is Superman.

He looked so little, and a bit lost today, lining up with the other five-year-olds. I was tearful. He turned to me, and I knew it was coming. The 'take me home, mommy.' I wouldn't cry in front of him. I would be a supportive parent, give him a hug, and hold his hand all the way to the classroom. I bent down to give his anxiety proper weight, and looked in his eyes.

He said, "So, when school's done, are you going to just come and pick me up, or should I give you a call?"

Okay, he is superman. I hope his teacher is too. I am fully prepared for him to walk into the house, full stride, in the middle of the school day. I am expecting frantic calls from the school. I am prepared for every feeling except this knot in my stomach, which lets me know that I was not ready yet to let go. But, I'm not sure I ever would be.

It makes me feel as though I might never feel ready to send out my ms. I'm still revising, so it's not a huge issue now, but if I had my druthers, I'm not sure I would have sent my son to school today. A couple more years of preschool couldn't have hurt. Not because he's not ready for kindergarten, clearly, but because I'm not. Not ready to let go of this amazing creature that has required so much from me, and given me so much in return.

Will I feel the same fear and anxiety about my literary child? I hope not. But I wonder, how do you know when your child is ready, when you are not?


  1. My first book - I edited it to death, but I also learned a lot about writing, editing and the writing process. I may resurrect it one day, but it would need to be completely rewritten. I submitted it once to an editor I met at an SCBWI event. That book took me 6 or 7 years to 'finish'.

    I submitted another book and in the six months I waited for responses, I realized it was not ready - at all. I worked it over and submitted it to an agent who heard the first chapter and requested the rest. It's still not ready, but I learned more. I think I will return to this one some day and start fresh. It was fictionalized auto-biography and very cathartic on its own.

    I have three that are in better shape, but none of them are ready yet. One needs a lot of work. One is nearly there and one is still not done as a first draft.

    My nearly there one has gone through major revisions and is still in that process. I think it will be ready once I'm done with that, but I will also get an outside opinion before submitting it anywhere.

    My advice - whenever you think you might be ready, ask a beta reader. Then submit something. Anything. Maybe write a short story and submit it for practice. It's all a process.

  2. Sarah-- I am so impressed with the quantity of writing that you are accomplishing. I have one book that will not see the light of day without a total re-write. And that won't happen until I write two books that are only outlines now.

    I am really excited about the Star book, which continues to face revisions. I'm hoping I'll know when that one is done. My beta reader has a much better sense for completion than I do. I'm hoping I'll have the guts to really go for it when I finally type 'The End'.

    How is your progress right now? I know you are trying to move forward quickly. Are you going to make your deadline? (labor day, was it?)

    I love your advice to submit something. It would be great to have a practice run on a short story. I'll have to look into that.

  3. The Labor Day deadline became unrealistic. I could make it, but I think it would not be my best effort. So I stopped beating my head against that particular wall. I have a retreat deadline that is the next weekend and I think I'm ready for that one. Don't have to have the whole thing done.

    Have had lots of life things going on and decided to give my stress level a little break. The fires are calming down it seems. Air quality is crap still. The rescued kittens are almost all in their new homes. The last two go this weekend. But life always seems to happen here.

    I'm giving Garlic a little break though I did figure out how to fix the geographic issues and have done some work on that. Still have 20 chapters to slog through for the 1st person fix and then need to finish the geographic fix and slog through it all again to remove or change those references.

    The kittens are helping me type my response here. Not sure what keys they're hitting to bring up some of these things on my computer. :-)

  4. It sounds as though you have things in perspective--which can be tough when doing something as solitary as writing.

    Garlic sounds like it is really coming along.

    Maybe those kittens are really smart, and know what you really should be looking at on your computer.

  5. They brought up some voice to text or text to voice thingy. I really should've paid attention to that one.

  6. Awww, he's so cute!

    I'm planning on homeschooling mine, and putting them in a lot of activities, which allows me to avoid this to a degree. Lately though, that idea seems INSANE. My daughter is such a handful. But, if she does end up going to public or private school, I don't think I'll handle it well at ALL. Big hugs to you!

    As for my MS, I don't think I'm going to handle that well either. As much as I want to get something out there, I honestly don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. I feel like my writing has too much room for improvement. Part of me wonders if that's just my safety net of an excuse though.

  7. Casey-- kudos for you for thinking about homeschooling. It's great to be able to explore learning with your child. My superman is an auditory and tactile learner, and I have my doubts as to how well the classroom will fulfill his needs. Only time will tell, I guess.

    About submitting my ms--I'm sure that I'll keep revising beyond what is necessary, just to delay the inevitable. Once it's out there in the world, it will either succeed or fail, and that will be tough. But, nothing risked, nothing gained, right? There is always another project begging to be written.

  8. I'm usually ready to send my manuscripts off into the world. But my kids? Not so much, and yet I know it's part of life. School starts for them on Tuesday . . . and I know I will sit at my desk all day, wondering how the middle two are doing. But I will have Demon Baby to keep my company.


  9. That's good to hear--that it's harder to send kids out into the world. Because that is hard enough.

    Erica-- Today your blog is a master class in character development and hooking a reader in the first chapter. I am taking copious notes. It's amazing. Thanks so much hosting, and for welcoming me into the discussion. Even when I don't comment, your blogs always get me thinking.