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.
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?