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Friday, September 30, 2011

What's in your trunk?

I am close to putting my first novel away in that proverbial trunk.  It's had a good run.  The concept has been met with enthusiasm, including plenty of requests to read more material, but despite many edits, I'm not sure it's there. Since I can't wrap my head around what "there" would be at this point, it just might be time to tuck it away.  I'm not alone.  Plenty of writers have done the same and have lived to blog about it.

I enjoyed reading these two perspectives on lessons learned from their trunked novels.

I, too, have learned plenty about my writing, but I've been thinking about it more from a life lesson perspective—it's just what I do. What else have I put away in the trunk? I've got old letters and cards somewhere.  A diary. An address book.  Jewelry.  Things that remind me of people or an era long gone.  I can pull them out from time to time to reminisce. I smile when I see some names. Others … not so much. 

The point is, it's not always bad to let something go despite serious time and effort put into it. Sometimes, no matter how much you've invested in a relationship, it's time to cut your losses and move on. It hurts. A lot at first.  Then a little less. 

And hope is not always lost. Sometimes, when sifting through items in the trunk, a memory sparks a new goal. Like the diary where I listed my number one goal as "be an author". Maybe, years down the road, a letter encourages you to reconnect with an old friend or to forgive yourself for a relationship gone bad.  The key is not to live in the trunk.  It's too small and dark.  No way to grow.  But you can take things out and decide what to do with them—maybe put them back, maybe keep them out for a while to see if they hold a new value.

I'm not quite to the trunk stage with the novel yet.  But close.  I'm working on using it for growth and remembering that there's always hope.Joanna Penn argues that trunk novels are a dying breed and it's best to self-publish them. She makes interesting points.

Someday, maybe that's a road I'd take.  Or perhaps, I'll get an idea of how to shake it up and make it even better.  Either way, I've learned so much already in the process that I can't look at any of it as entirely negative.

So, what's in your trunk? Is there something you take out and think about from time to time?


  1. You shouldn't think of it as anything negative! More like a class you've finished and now it's time to take the next one.

    I have a trunk novel and one I just put on a shelf for lack of time while I write other thing. But I know I'll be coming back to both those stories when the time is right. Our writing never goes away; it just waits until you are ready for it. :)

  2. Come get your award on my blog, Tricia! : )