How to Transition to Your Next Novel

For the Joy.jpgAmidst the transition from finishing my manuscript to the start of the publication cycle, something shifted in me. “Writing” (that is, doing whatever was necessary to get my manuscript published) became another thing to do on an ever-increasing to-do list. I need to re-write that first scene, build a platform, research agents, and the motivation that has always pushed me through my story has dried up.

And now I know why.

A year ago, I celebrated but I never stopped to recognize the huge change the completion of my story would bring in my life. I lost a beautiful thing.

At first, I was surprised to find that this was still affecting me, but time doesn’t heal wounds that you hide. Even writing this, part of me is rebelling, feeling like it’s silly for a story to have such an effect on me, but isn’t that the point? Haven’t I poured years of my life into learning how to write this story so that it moved people?

My heart is– more than I would like to admit– heavy. The story has finished, the curtain has closed, and the characters that I have spent years with stepped out of my life. Coffee shops don’t mean dreaming and weaving and tweaking anymore. New ideas have come along but nothing has held up and there’s an empty space where all my story-thoughts once occupied.

Honestly, I need to mourn.

There are many things in life that require you to go through them, not around, and I believe this is one of them for myself. I don’t know what this process looks like, but I know that joy and creativity and the motivation that accompanies both is on the other side. I just need to get there.

So this is actually my first step toward publication–not sharpening my beginning or locking myself away with a computer and the latest copy of the Writer’s Market, but confessing to you and myself that I miss my story.

If you have any thoughts or advice, if you’re a veteran of the first story and have successfully moved on or are still limping through, I’m asking for your help. Thank you for being part of my writing community.

And to anyone else left bewildered by the end of their story, hold on. There’s joy on the other side.

abigal

 

Abigail signing off.

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