Monday, June 20, 2016

On Writing and Letting Go

A few weeks ago, I sent my manuscript off to the editor and then sat back and stared at my computer screen with a sigh. Usually, when I'm finished with a story, writing the words The End is a relief. It's like an 'Okay, I did it' because contrary to what I thought when I first starting writing, you never (or I never) feel like 'yeah, I got this. I'll kick out another book'. Not to say I'm insecure. I'm not. I'm just grateful to be able to do it every single time.

So the sigh... This was the first book where the moment I wrote the words The End, I felt a little sad. 

While you're writing your story, the characters live only for you. Only for you. Stop and think about that for a moment. It's an amazing thing. It's not even only that they belong to me. I mean, they do, sort of, or at least they've trusted me to tell their stories, but they EXIST not only because of me but also FOR me. I feel like I know them better than I know anyone else in the world. 

In the case of this particular book coming up, it wrote it faster than I usually do, and it's also the longest book I've written. The idea had taken root a long time ago but I'd not yet been able to put the story together. I even knew the hero and the heroine's names from the start, and I felt like —once I hit send— they were no longer only my own. Maybe I just wasn't ready to give them up. 

That feeling is strange, and when I hit publish on a book, it's even greater. It's not quite a sense of loss. I don't mourn. I know other people will read the books and others will get to know these people and their stories and hate them and love them and scream at them, but as soon as I hit publish, they simply don't belong to me anymore. They no longer exist only for me and I let them go and I can never really get them back, not like it was when I was writing them and it was just us. 

It's such a strange thing and I wonder if other writers feel this same way. 

That all said, one of the most wonderful things after I've published a book is a reader messaging me about a character, asking a question, wanting to know more about their future, or just telling me how much they loved a story. I am pretty sure I can never get enough of that!