Are You a Mother Hen?

My guest blogger today is Virginia Grenier, author of Babysitting Sugarpaw and blogger at Families Matter.

by Virginia Grenier

Today I went for a mile walk around my neighborhood with my son and dog, Taz. We were doing well until Taz decided he could not walk anymore and started chewing at his leash. At first I did what any dog owner would do . . . I chocked up the leash and started encouraging Taz to keep walking. At about the half way point, Taz sat down and refused to take another step. Now, I could have done what most don trainers tell you to do . . . pull the dog along and make him walk. But I didn’t. I went right into mother hen mood. I picked up my dog and began to carry him the remaining half mile to our house.

After I got home, I sat down at my computer and posted about our walk on Facebook. Then I turned to my WIPs. The ones I have been working on for a little over a year now. Then it hit me. I am treating my WIPs like my dog!

Okay, so you are wondering how in the world are my WIPs like my dog. Well, they both give me comfort, but that’s not what I’m talking about. No, what I am talking about is how once my WIPs get too tired, unsure of themselves, or lose their way, I pick them up and carry them around in my mind. I make up excuses as to why they are not ready to be sent out. Just like the excuse, I gave on Facebook about my dog needing to lay off the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

What I realized today is I am afraid to let my WIPs go. I am afraid their not ready for an editor, publisher, or agent’s eyes to look them over. Does it mean my WIPs are not ready to be sent out? Maybe, but most likely not. In truth, many writers do this. They work on a manuscript trying to perfect it. Trying to make it the best manuscript ever written, but the fact is . . . you will never see that day! Why?

Because all manuscripts will be a WIP until they are published. This means they will go through many more revisions, edits, and rewrites before a publisher will put them on the printing press. It means once you’ve had your manuscript critiqued, proofread, revised, critiqued again, revised some more . . . you need to find the right time to send it out into the world. To let your baby fly with its own wings. You may get some rejections and some may even be helpful to help you prefect your WIP a bit more. But if you do not set your manuscript down and let it walk on its own feet, it will never be strong enough to walk the whole mile to publication.

So stop being a mother hen. Let your manuscripts leave your arms and take flight! Or in the case of my dog, Taz . . . walk.Virginia blogs at Families Matter and her book is available from Amazon

Published in: on May 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good points Virginia. I think even for published work sometimes it’s hard to just let go and accept that it’s now ‘out there’ and apart from us – to move on and get to the next one. You made the ‘mother hen’ analogy. Do you think it’s harder for women to let go than it is for men? Taking the analogy even further, I sometimes have to really push myself to allow my characters to get hurt – I feel a little guilty and responsible for them – but good fiction requires that characters go ‘all the way’ with their issues and traits and really develop, which often means learning through trial and pain.

    • I think men have a hard time letting go of their work, too, but not as much as women do. At least that has been my experience with the authors I’ve worked with on revisions as Stories for Children Magazine and Halo Publishing.

      Thanks for comments and questions Magdalena.

      I also want to thank Heidi for letting me be her guest blogger today.

  2. You need a beta reader? Email me @

  3. Letting go of our writing is very much like letting go of our children. From the first playdate without mom, to driving, going away to college, etc. We must let go for our writing and our children to flourish!

    Best wishes,

  4. Thanks, Virginia, for sharing these insights with us!

  5. Very insightful, Virginia. It’s hard to let go. There’s always room for improvement, but this can be taken to the extreme, then the book never gets published. I guess we have to learn to trust ourselves.

  6. It is hard to let go! I’m always sure I’ve missed something stupid and horrific.

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