On Writing – Author’s Grief

It’s Wednesday. For about a year, Wednesday meant posting a new chapter of Unforeseen Dives. But not this week.
The sudden change in routine emphasizes one crucial aspect of writing: the moment when the story is done and the author grieves.

The “done” point of a story varies according to where we stand as an author. From the completion of the first draft, to the shipping to beta readers or the printing of the first copies, it all depends on our perception of what “done” means.
But every story, at some point, ends.

Sometimes the end rhymes with “accomplishment”. On other occasions, it’s more akin to “finally *le sigh*”. Wherever our story lands on the spectrum, once the initial emotion has passed, we’re left with a whole in our heart. Or our schedule. 😉

My story and I share a short to long-term love/hate relationship. The end of it hurts at first. I think about the story. I might even want to get back together. But I need to let go. A period of time passes when I don’t think about the story anymore before I can revisit its memory with a crooked smile.
I grieve. Do you?

Out of respect for my other stories, I try to take a break between the end of a story and the beginning (or continuation) of another. I don’t want my grief to unconsciously taint all my other works so I need to get pass the initial “I miss it so much” stage before I can commit to a new relationship.
That grieving period spans from hours to weeks, according to the length and emotional involvement of the project.
How long do you let the dust settle after a story is done?

About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “On Writing – Author’s Grief

  • Alyssa

    I’m currently working on several stories at once, but I also find myself almost aching when I write my customary FIN at the end of a story. I take week, even two to reorden my thoughts. I couldn’t do it in October when I finished The Healer’s Touch because NaNoWriMo was two days away, and I find that has stunted my enthusiasm about the sequel.
    They become a part of us, our stories. And, closing them down means putting away that bit.
    Good luck with this period but may we soon get something new from you. 😉

  • Andrew G. Carson

    When I finally reach the fated “ FADE OUT” line at the end of a script and after the inevitable multiple rewrites that follow I also tend to feel saddened to have reached the story’s conclusion and try to take some time off after each project but sometimes a subject matter or character jumps out of the creative abyss of my mind demanding instant attention. For me the greatest part of the writing process is always that “What If” moment that starts it all off and rolling so I guess the knowledge that that is only a creative spark away is comforting for me.

  • Innkeeper

    Very insightful post.

    Personally, never do I feel such strong emotion than looking at blank page or reading back the words “the end”. Great post!

    • Aheïla

      You’re right; the beginning is as emotional as the end. Maybe that’s why everyone talks about the “dreaded middle”.
      I like the middle but it is never as emotionally gripping as the blank page or “the end” for the author. At least, that’s my experience.

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