The last few weeks, I have considering shelving Shadow's Dawn temporarily. The querying and contests have been really hard on me. Each rejection and each time I don't make it into a contest is slowly eating my soul away and taking my confidence down with it.
Yet, although my brain knows I need a break, my heart still struggles. I've been through many struggles with this story. It was the thing that kept me sane during the depths of my illness, when I didn't know if I was going to die or live. Granted, I've threatened to shelve it before, during one of the many, many blow outs I've had with it. I can't tell if I honestly need a break, or if I'm just having another tantrum.
The thing is, it's not like I have never shelved it before. I actually have and more than once. Quite easily too. Right in the middle, I stopped writing and didn't return for four months. Right before the current incarnation, I actually quit writing for months because I went through the ringer with my creative writing class. I swore off writing that story until my boyfriend begged me to write it.
I went through a lot of struggles with this novel. It's the sole accomplishment in my life. The one things I could say that I succeeded at.
Then today, it clicked. I finally knew why this time was so hard:
I don't want to fall out of love with it.
I don't want to start working in something new, fall in love with it, then go back to Shadow's Dawn and go 'Dear god, was I high?'. It is actually distressing me to tears right now, that very idea. I've heard of stories from people who write a book they love, then shelve it, and come back later and hate it. It would kill me to do that. It would feel like I've wasted 6-7 years. Right down the toilet. That idea distresses me more than querying. It's like being stabbed through the heart.
I've been through so much with the story, and it's not because it's the first. It would be the same if it was the second, or third, or tenth. Sometimes I wish it was the second, third, or tenth, so people would take my feelings more seriously. It's not about the number it happens to be, it's about the emotional connection and pure passion I have for it. What's the point in writing a book if you don't love it with every part of your heart? If it hurts so much, doesn't that just mean you tried to give it everything you had?
Maybe this is what it means to have a passion project. And the Shadows Series is mine.