THE END. SO NOW WHAT?
By Natalie Bright
That moment you type THE END. That point in time you push aside the story that’s been haunting your brain for months, even years. Breathe. Relax. Now what? How do you decide what to work on next?
Do you follow trends and start something new based on today’s markets? Do you rifle through the pages of your idea journal, hoping something will spark? (You DO have an idea journal, right?) Maybe you have more than one thing going at once, and you switch back and forth between several WIPs: novel, a short story, or a freelance nonfiction piece.
It’s a Weird Process: Let’s Move On
This past year is the first time I truly accepted the weirdness of having a writer’s brain. I jotted notes on everything that came to me right at that very moment. Blog topic, articles, short stories, a character, an unusual setting, a remarkable piece of history, even flashes of scenes in my current WIP – whatever it might become at a later point in time didn’t matter. I didn’t question the sparks. I jotted quick notes before the idea left my brain. Even as I write this, I’m realizing what an absolutely idiotic process this has become.
Ideas, character sparks, bits of dialogue, unique settings invade my brain at the worst possible times it seems. Does this happen to you?
Every single time, whether it’s an assigned article for an editor or a full-length novel, the moment I type THE END and tap send that horrible self-doubt and ugly self-editor raises a ruckus. This one piece of work may end my whole writing career, but never the less the only solution for me is to push aside the doubt, let the finished narrative sink or swim so that I can leap in to something new.
Here’s the thing about ideas; I wish I had the ones back that I ignored. They’re gone. I can’t remember them no matter how many times I’ve thought to myself, “That’s a good idea. I’ll remember that.” I didn’t. You won’t either.
Don’t be afraid to accept the weirdness that is writing. Value it. Emmerse yourself whole-heartedly into the process. I share this because I know many writers who don’t. They talk endlessly about the stories in their head, but to actually put those visions into words takes courage beyond their grasp.
Give yourself permission to write. Compose whatever burns a hole in your gut, even if it makes no sense as to the WHY. Stop ignoring your sparks of genius. And write.