Manuscripts and Mandalas: A Post About Letting Go

Today I deleted an entire chapter of my WIP.

 
Not because I didn't like it. On the contrary, I was actually rather pleased with it. But as I was reading the chapter through, I realised that it wasn't going anywhere. I mean, what was it leading up to? What was the point in it at all?

So I tossed it away. Threw it on the scrapheap. Hit the delete button. And I am so glad that I did.

Because sometimes, it takes losing something to prove that you can do better. I re-wrote that entire chapter, and now I am proud to say that I am...well, proud of it. It conveys the messages and information I wanted it to convey and it introduces a new character that becomes VERY important later on in the story.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean. You can pick and adjust and rewrite as much as you want, and sometimes that works, but not for me. Deleting that chapter was something that I had to do, no matter how hard letting go of it was.

And I had liked it. That deleted chapter. I'd liked the sharp dialogue I had written, the little anecdotes on one of my favourite characters, the setting of it, the mood of the piece....but it had to be done.

But I am happy that I did it.

I am happy that I let go of something that I loved, yet was holding me back. I guess this lesson can be applied to real-life, too: letting go can be hard, but sometimes it must be done to pave the way for happiness.

Image result for Sand Mandala Buddhism
A sand mandala, created by a devoted Buddhist monk.
                                               

I look at the Buddhist monks as the greatest example of this: they spent many, many painstaking hours on making their mandalas. It takes them so long, and the effort and concentration must be excruciating, the sheer devotion to the amount of detail as every inch of the mandala is crafted to perfection is, in itself, a wonder to behold. Needless to say, the end result of all of their hard work is stunningly beautiful, like a rare gem found amongst coal.

And then, after spending so long and going through so much to complete the beautiful masterpiece that is the mandala...they throw it away.

You may be thinking to yourself, what? They spent so long on it, just so that they could throw it away? That's ludicrous!

But it isn't. Not really, if you think about it: Throwing away their beautiful creation reminds the monks, and ultimately ourselves, of something: it reminds us that love is about appreciation, not possession.

And it has also taught me that sometimes, letting go of your own creations can be hard. But in the end, it can teach us wonderful lessons and open our eyes to see the bigger, brighter picture. It can help us see that the world is bigger than ourselves, than our creations, than a chapter. That at the end of the day, when all is said and done, do material possessions even matter? Does anything we own matter? When we are sat next to the man who has nothing but the smile on his face, and on the other side there sits the man with everything except a smile on his, can we honestly say that the wealthier man is happy? That man may be wealthier in riches and possessions, but who is ultimately the wealthiest? The man with nothing but joy, or the man with everything but happiness?

                                       

Do you see what I'm getting at here?

Starting from scratch, throwing away the things we love, having nothing....at the end of the day, it doesn't matter where we begin so much as how we end. It doesn't matter that I started that chapter on Tuesday and finished it on Thursday, or that I spent three whole days revising it and reading it through: what matters is that I decided to start again. I decided on another ending, on another creation, on another chapter.

The key thing that I want anybody, whether you're just back from a busy day or lying up with a cup of tea watching old Disney movies, to take away from this post is the following:


Letting go just means that there's something better out there, holding out its hand and just waiting for you to grasp it.



Has anybody else ever felt like this? Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind, or have you ever had to let go of something- or someone-  you once held close to your heart? And how are the writers out there getting on with their WIPs? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below, or even if you just want a place to vent or get something off your chest. Or perhaps you've felt like this before?

I'd love to stay, but for now....


Farewell, my beautiful Internet!

- Sunset xx


                             Image result for letting go watercolour gif









Comments

  1. Hey Sunset, not to sound desperate but there are only 3 days left to vote for the Blogger Choice Awards, so if you could send in your votes before the deadline (July 10th) that'd be great! Thanks :)

    ~ Rukiya

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    1. Thanks for the reminder, Rukiya. I'll be sure to submit my votes before the deadline.

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  2. I definitely agree with this post :) throwing away parts of my writing is so hard for me, but at the end it feels nice - kind of like a spring cleaning.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. Yes, exactly! A good 'spring cleaning' when it comes to writing is sometimes needed, and it does feel rather refreshing sometimes.

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  3. I have a really hard time letting go of things in general, but I really like what you said at the end of your post about there being something better out there waiting for you to take hold of it. :D

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    1. I meant every word. Letting go can be difficult, yes, and extremely challenging: but sometimes it is for the best.

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  4. This is actually just what I needed to hear today. I just deleted my favourite scene of the whole novel last night, and boy did it hurt. But at the same time, it didn't fit, and it was getting in the way of having a coherent plot. It's so true that sometimes you need to let go of the things you love so that something better can come out of it. Still hurts, but it's another step on the path to having something beautiful, and in the end, isn't that so much better?

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Imogen. Sometimes it takes erasing something to show you that you can accomplish so much more, and that you are capable of creating something new, something better, something that (as you rightfully said) will be beautiful.

      I'm glad you solved your problem, too: I was really attached to my chapter, but like you said sometimes it just has to be done.

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  5. Thank you so much for this post. My comment today comes in point form, for everyone's convenience.

    1) I'm glad you found the strength to delete something that wasn't working, even though you liked it. Kill your darlings, right?
    2) I've never heard about those mandalas, those are awesome.
    3) The first book I wrote had to be totally rehauled not once but twice, and now I have to delete about 75% of it and start again because it needs it again. I needed that encouragement :)

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    1. Thank you for such positivity, Victoria! The mandalas are amazing, and as we were learning about them in my school quite recently I became fascinated by the idea that these people had the strength to give up what they had created. It truly is remarkable.

      And it was hard to give up my chapter. I loved it and it was incredibly hard to do. But in the end, it just wasn't helping my plot advance and I had to do what was necessary.

      Thanks again for such a nice comment (in point form too, which was intriguing) and for stopping by, Victoria!

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  6. Amazingly written, as always. Sometimes letting go is the most necessary step for our growth. It is cathartic in so many ways.

    I wish you a wonderful start to the week :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Letting go is difficult, but as I've said sometimes it is necessary. I really appreciate you writing such a nice comment!

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