Saturday, November 20, 2010

The hardest thing about writing

The thing I find most difficult about writing a novel is coming to the end. It's like losing a child. For months, the story has been with me day and night, even in my dreams. As I write a book, in a very real sense I live within the fictional world that I create. I'm so familiar with every aspect of that world; I know its ins and outs. And why wouldn't I? It's been my home for so long.

And then, boom! I write "The End" and it's gone, just a memory. It feels like someone pulled the rug out from under me. This book that I spent every minute of six or seven months with, this wondrous story that so captivated me as I wrote it . . . is over. It's painful.

I think I go into shock after finishing a book, I truly do. I don't know who I am or how to spend my days. I look around and everything seems strange. Things even smell funny.

The thing is, I can't jump directly into the next book because it's not time to write yet. I need to recharge my batteries before launching into the next project. And so for a time I don't write -- and it feels like the end of the world.

During these times I bump into the truth that without writing, I'm lost. It's like breathing to me now, something I need to do every day. The days or weeks between the time I write "The End" and the moment I begin the new book are a bleak time.

But then one day I realize I'm back, I'm recharged and it's time to write another one! And the process begins again, fresh and clean and filled with dreams.