Letting Go

Writing is fraught with emotion. We feel everything our characters feel – sometimes tenfold. When we’re editing, we feel elation and complete ineptitude (sometimes all in the same paragraph). When it’s time to show our baby to our critique partners, we feel apprehension and hope.

And, that’s not including all that writers go through when we query. The highs and lows so vast that we pull G-forces without leaving our desk.

Yeah. You can see why we drink.

There’s another emotion plaguing me. It’s the sense of something coming to a close. The feeling that it’s time for me to say good-bye.letting-go

Last weekend, while finishing up a round of edits for Pardon Falls, my sequel to Phoenix, that overwhelming sense of both sadness and excitement took my breath away. The first time I felt this was when I gave Phoenix it’s final scrub before publication. I knew it was the last time I was taking that trip into a story I lived in for so long – akin to standing on the stage at graduation.

I know I’m not quite done with Pardon Falls. There’s still a bit of tweaking to do (Editor’s Note: Tweaking, not Twerking. I know you were thinking that), and some line edits. But, for me to feel that with the “novel that would never end” reassured me that maybe, finally, possibly I’m getting close.

It’s a bittersweet elation. How could I possibly be excited to say goodbye to this story and to characters that live with me every day?

I’m curious as to if it’s something exclusive to me. So, I asked a few of my writing buddies for their thoughts.

The lovely C.A. Szarek is the prolific author of eleventy billion books (seriously, that’s the count of her catalog). I asked her if she experiences this hesitation to let go with each of her stories. She assures me it gets easier with the more books we publish.

I get emotional too, but nothing compares to the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish a book. I also usually have to give a dreamy sigh or two since my couple is now in HEA land,” she said. 

Note to self: Maybe I should try my hand at happy endings. (There’s about three of you that’s doing the Butthead giggle right now. I know who you are.)

My good friend Jeff Bacot agrees with that reluctance to let a story go. Rumor has it that his follow up to On the Hole is complete, but until I asked his thoughts on this blog post, he hadn’t been able to put his finger on why he’s holding back. (Jeff, take your finger off it and let us see it for God’s sake!)

Chrissy also brings up a very valid point. When I finish a novel, it may be the end for me and that particular aspect of the writing journey, but it’s only the beginning for the people reading it.

So, while I say goodbye to Mandy, David and Josh, I hope the rest of you will welcome them with a heartfelt hello.

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