Monday, December 8

What now?

This is one of those “days in a writer’s life” posts, so if you just rolled your eyes because you’ve read way more of them than you find interesting, I won’t be offended if you run on over to another blog. Come back tomorrow!

I am melancholy today. Because this morning I typed “The End” and closed the file I’ve opened every day (even non-working ones) for the past nine months. Good heavens! It sounds like a pregnancy, doesn’t it? Or a school year?

Well...kinda. Because writing a book, like pregnancy or a year of school, are seasons in life. It’s a time of learning, of growing (some times more than other), of being so tired you absolutely know you can’t face another day. It’s emotionally satisfying, emotionally draining, and...emotional. Start to finish.

In the middle of pregnancy, of the school year, and of the book, there is the tendency to wonder if it’s ever going to end. There’s already too much weight gain, too many Cs on too much homework, too much angst. There is the morning when you hit a wall and collapse in a puddle of woe. I can’t do it!

And then after long labor, excruciating finals, or the exhaustion of writing a Black Moment, it is over. The baby is here, the school bus doesn’t drive by the house every morning at 7:23, or you’ve typed, yes, blessed Lord, “The End.”

What now?

This is where the melancholy sets in. It’s too early to go back over the just-finished manuscript; it has to settle. I don’t want to rush into the next one because it needs to perk a while before it forms into words on the page. I could go on a reading frenzy, but I’ve gotten out of that habit—I enjoy reading much more when I just do because I feel like it.

So today I’ve put up some Christmas decorations—though I’m not in the mood. I’ve spent way too much time on Facebook. I dusted a little. I am reminded of those days at the end of the school years when the babies I was pregnant for—at least two years for each one—graduated. I was bewildered then just as I am today.

What now?

We’re going out to dinner in a couple of hours. I’ll look at a menu, laugh with the friends across the table, and look around. Maybe...no, probably, I will see or hear something I’ll need to write down or say out loud so I don’t forget it. I’ll add it to the notes I’ve made for the next project.

And tomorrow I’ll open a new file.

18 comments:

  1. I love writing The End, but it's definitely bittersweet. It means I don't get to play with the characters I've come to love, but they're happy so I'm happy... :D Like you I take a day or so to decompress and get out of that world. I'll read, watch a movie or play with RadioMan and bebe. And it won't take long for another story idea to start nudging me to open that new file.

    Great post, Liz!

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  2. LOL....first of all, congratulations!!! Secondly, I've been dealing with 'NaNo hangover' this week...I finished one book mid-November and wrote four more chapters on another book until the 30th:) I'm hoping to get back to it this week and to type 'the end' by by Dec 31st:) Raising my current cup of coffee to you in honor, m'dear:) Looking forward to reading another fabulous Liz story!

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    1. Thanks, Molly, and congrats on doing so well with Nano!

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  3. You've captured the feelings perfectly, especially the "now what do I do?". At least with a baby you get cute little toes to kiss, and with kids home from school for the summer you have an excuse for field trips to the beach. (And, oh joy, you get to hear the dreaded "Mom, I'm bored.) My biggest problem with typing "the end" is getting the characters out of my head. I've grown to love them so much I just want the story to keep going, LOL! Which I guess is like sending a child off to college. You're so damn proud of what they've accomplished, and who they've become, but you still want to tuck them in at night.

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    1. Exactly. I'm trying to write a series (the first time I've done this), so I have to stop the protagonists in the next book from sounding just like the ones in the first. Just like raising kids--new adventures every day! Thanks for coming by, Luanna!

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  4. Gah. Had to delete and start again. Too many errors. Ha ha.
    Anyway, what I mentioned was wondering what it would be like to write a tragic ending. Would you grieve for those characters for a long time? I think that's why I choose to write romance. I can kiss the characters goodbye, wave as they drive down the street to head off on the rest of their journey. But I do miss them. The house becomes too quiet for a while.

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    1. I've never written a tragic ending, but as you know, a beloved character did die in One More Summer. All this time later, I still mourn her, and wish the story would have written differently.

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  5. I can relate to the pregnancy. The moment I push the send button to submit, I go into labor. The delivery doesn't happen until I have the cover and release date.
    Great post, Liz!

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  6. Perfect analogy. My books take about nine months, too. But I've never felt melancholy at the end--I'm usually elated that I actually made it!

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    1. There is that--sometimes more than others--but even then, I have the "what now?" thing going on. Plus I'm always afraid the book I finish will be the last one I write. Not sure why that is.

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  7. I finished the first book in a new series a couple of weeks ago. No rewrites until I get it back from my CP. Started book two--sort of. I've written a few pages but am having a hard time focusing. I think after writing The End, we need a little break. It's such an engrossing process that a time-out is almost a must. The good news is my house is fairly clean and decorated for the holidays, and I just finished my Christmas cards. Not a bad time of year to regroup! However, I'm about ready to dive back into writing--the plotting in my head is getting a little out of hand! You'll work your way back into the grove--just give it some time.

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    1. Thanks, Jannine. I know you're right about giving it time!

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  8. I usually have something in the wings ready to get started and to jump into. It may not go far, but it serves the writing bug :)

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    1. Me, too, Margie, and I did even this time, but I'm not sure where it's going!

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  9. Writing "The End" is exciting but afterward it's sad. A story you've slaved over is done. While there will be much editing time, it's not the same. I often miss my characters when I finish a story. But when I finish one, I immediately jump to the next. I find that helps a lot.

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    1. I've tried that, Chrys, but have found out I need some down time. Even now, I'm struggling to get started. Even though starting new is exciting to me, it takes me some time to love the story.

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