I am nearing the end of my latest novel. Revisions are in progress and it will be out to beta readers soon. As usual, I have mixed emotions about this stage of the writing process. It is melancholy satisfaction, I suppose, the letting go of a story that has been my constant companion for months.
It is a loss. And a relief.
For someone who employs words to paint images and pictures in a reader’s mind, I find I’m not up to the task of describing this feeling plainly. What metaphors could I use? Sending your child off to college, perhaps, or realizing the newborn you hold in your arms is the last one you’ll create? Even these metaphors are lacking.
Where are words for this feeling? It isn’t the let down and sudden jolt of typing “the end.” I’ve never gotten used to that. On the other hand, it can be just as profound. Peace, pride, relief, loss, sadness, gratification, and a sense of change.
I am pleased with these characters and the story we created together. I will miss them, but it does not change my determination to leave them, for their world has grown confining and the events of their story are concluded. Still, it is a world familiar to me and I feel at home there.
I’ve never been one to jump directly into the next novel. I like a little space, a little time to mourn. I need to clear my head of the present story so new characters and situations become solid and begin to direct my thoughts. It is a quiet time for me as a writer, to sit silent for two or three weeks and let this story leave me in stages as another slowly rises to take its place.
I also use this time to catch up on the rest of my life when I can, to soak up new experiences and read as many books as I like. I enjoy it because I know my cycle, and I know this time will not last. New stories are coming. They are always coming.
I love that.
How would you describe this feeling? Do you push it away or pull it close?