After Writing ‘The End’ …

For the past two years I have been working and struggling with a manuscript. The story idea was born after a conversation I had with my mom on Skype where she threw out this random sentence that I thought would make a fantastic title for a book. Ironically, despite the entire story being inspired by what I thought was the ideal title, the title has since changed for said manuscript.

This manuscript has been written, shelved and rewritten at least six times over the past 24 months. While fighting with this story, I actually managed to write four other books so that gives you an indication of just how much I struggled. But, I was determined not to give up. I loved the premise, I adored the characters and knew the story needed to be told – I just wasn’t doing the story in my heart and head any justice on the page.

Everything changed last month when I got stuck in for what I told myself would be a final rewrite and if it still didn’t work, I’d shift+delete and move on for good. It took me a while, but I finally realized what was holding me back so I rolled up my sleeves, gritted my teeth and got stuck into the story in a way that I had always been afraid to. Cue the trumpets and a choir of angels singing Hallelujah!

This time last week, I wrote ‘The End’ on that manuscript and collapsed in a state of exhausted relief.

The_End_Book

But of course that wasn’t truly the end. This past week, I’ve been rereading and tidying up the ms, getting it ready for beta readers. On Wednesday, I sent off the ms – an ms soaked with two years’ worth of blood, sweat and tears – and now I am bereft.

For two years this story has been at the back of my mind, the characters whispering in my thoughts even as I worked on other books, and now those voices have fallen silent. This definitely isn’t the end of the road – this book will undoubtedly need more revising and editing before it ever rests in the hands of readers – but for now, I have to let it go and wait on beta feedback. There is an ms sized hole in my life and I honestly don’t know what to do with myself.

I am almost half way through another WIP, but I’m lacking motivation. I also have a Shiny New Idea brewing, but that needs an outline and a blurb and a fair bit of research before I start committing words to paper, so I’m kind of twiddling my thumbs today when usually I’d be furiously typing (not counting this blog post, of course). I have major manuscript hangover and I’m not sure how to lift myself out of this writing funk.

It never ceases to amaze me how very attached to a manuscript I become, or how finishing a draft can feel like a triumph and a loss.

Writers, how do you cope with finishing a story and sending it out into the world? How long does it take for you to recover from one ms before diving into the next?

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  • Emma Adams

    I try to work on something completely different to ease the pain of sending a project out into the world – it’s difficult, though! Like after I finished Darkworld, I wrote my MG fantasy (which couldn’t be more different!). I always need to be writing something, so I sometimes work on fun “side” projects like my last draft until an idea comes along that I fall head over heels for – like the book I’m working on now!

    • Good plan. And I do have a short story that needs writing before October. Maybe that’s a good way to fill in the gap.

      Thanks Emma 😉

  • Krystal Jane

    This is usually when I go to my idea farm and work on the plots of another idea while my brain is free and not tied up in anything. I also catch up on reading and beta-ing and cleaning. While I’m doing all these other things and playing with my new ideas, I always get super excited about something, and I can often transfer that excitement to anything currently in the works. Sometimes it also helps if I just step away from what I’m working on for a couple of days and work on something else. It takes the pressure off, I guess, showing me that I have other ideas and everything isn’t riding on the one.

    I’m still so excited for you by the way!

    • Yup, this is what I’ve been trying to do. Brainstorming new ideas and working on completely different projects. It seems to be helping 🙂

      And thank you!!