Have you finished writing a book yet? I finished writing my first full length novel aimed at young adults on the 21st of June. It was an odd feeling to say the least. I had been writing it since November/December. For six months my characters had been my life. Night after night I carved them out. From their looks to their personalities down to the smallest tic. They were mine.
I had always planned on writing a second book with those same characters but there was just something so sad about finishing that first book. I know it wasn’t a firm goodbye but finishing it signified a great deal. Firstly, I had done it. I had actually written a book from start to finish so I felt proud of myself and really happy. It was certainly not easy to get the stage where it was complete so yup, proud was the emotion. Then came worry, is it any good? Will people enjoy it? Should I change it? Bin it? Then comes the conviction that yes, it is indeed rubbish – throw it away for goodness sake!! Except I open it and fall in love with my character all over again. Stop messing with the book Emma, it’s done you plank!
This is where the worst part begins. I had planned to start the next novel immediately, I had even tweeted as much but of course I opened up my first book and started messing with it. Nothing major, I promise! Look, if there is any writer out there who doesn’t mess around with their work after it is apparently finished then they are most likely being a bit of a fiberooney!
The next night I decided that I would take a break, just for one night, before I began book two. Cue feelings of hopelessness, boredom, irritability and, dare I say it, depression. I turned on the tv and flicked around. Though there were several programmes that I liked, I couldn’t find it in me to watch them so I turned on my Kindle. Usually, I read during the day and write at night. Occasionally if a book has really grabbed me I will read it once I have finished writing too so it felt strange to be reading. My brain wouldn’t focus on the plot or characters. Instead it wandered off on it’s own to somewhere I do not know. Nothing felt right. So, I picked up my laptop, opened up a fresh document and began writing book two. Equilibrium settled over me. I had found a way to make my wandering brain happy. I had found a way to make me happy.
So when you’ve finished a book – is it the end? The answer: Only if you want it to be.