So since today is a snow day, I decided to take some time to write about letting go. I think one of the hardest things for me was letting go of the characters and world I created in my first manuscript. They were so real and I had their voices so clearly in my head that I worried if I let them go I wouldn't be able to get them back when I wanted to write the other books in the series (which I still fully intend on doing).
However, one piece of advice Janet Reid from FinePrint and many of the other blogging agents I follow have given is keep writing. You simply can't rest on your laurels.
There's a lot of waiting in the query stage. You send out your queries and then you have to wait. Weeks at first. Then if someone requests more it can lead to 3 - 6 months (that's right months) of more waiting. Then if your lucky enough to land an agent, you're going to have to wait even longer while he/she tries to sell your manuscript to the publishing houses. Like I said, there's a lot of waiting so why not do something productive in the mean time.
Another reason to keep writing is Publishers and Agents are not looking for a one trick pony. They want someone who intends to build a career out of writing - which means more than one book. Saying you have a series attached to the submitted manuscript is far more juicy to them than a stand alone. Or having more than one story under your belt shows prospects for the future. In the end, they want clients that are going to produce.
And in truth, I haven't had a chance to go back and work on Purgatory or any of the other stories but I'm not really concerned anymore about losing them. When my mind drifts back to that world, the characters are right there waiting and the world is just as vivid as ever. I'm not saying the voice won't take sometime to get perfect again. I'm sure it will. But the components are still there. And in the mean time, I keep learning.
My writing evolves and continually improves. I find better ways, stronger ways of writing things. So when do finally go back to my first story, the rewrites are sure to be superior to the first. And that, I suppose, is the moral to the story. Keep writing. Keep practicing because that's the only way you'll get better.