Late last month I finally completed the manuscript of a project I’d been working on writing for a very long time. We won’t talk about the time it took, but the copy of the manuscript I sent to proofreaders was the sixth revision.
It’s hard to believe that I wrote and rewrote that story six times over before it reached a point where I considered it done. It was something I’d always wanted to do. The start of my epics, the first book in the series I’d wanted to write since childhood. I always thought I’d be happy when it was done, but as I wrote the final words and hit save for the last time, I fell into something strange: Completion letdown.
Honestly, I should have seen it coming. It’s not the first time I’ve been down this road and it’s not the first time I’ve felt this, this very strange feeling of not knowing what comes next.
There is no celebration, no sense of satisfaction or fulfillment. I imagine that’s largely because as a writer, I must write.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that it’s finally done. But there’s also a sense of bewilderment, a feeling of just not knowing what comes next. Finishing a story is rewarding, but working on it feels comforting. It’s familiar, and so it’s safe. Now that it’s done, there’s no going back. No returning to the cozy place I built up around myself with so many words. It’s time to move ahead, but there’s nothing scarier than a blank page before you.
|I found this on Google and only used it because it looks like my “new” Mac.|
So what happens now? Well, that’s easy enough to answer. I write.
As frightening as it is, I’m excited, too, and I’ve been planning my next few projects out carefully.
August and September should see the completion of one short story and one novella, with completion of the next big project coming along shortly after that. When the new year rolls around it’ll bring another new project, one I’ve been looking forward to for some time.
I’m sure I’ll feel the same after each of those stories is complete. It’s hard to leave behind the characters you learn to love, but despite the letdown that comes with the end, I still feel like the joy of the writing along the way is its own reward.