I have finished the short story I’ve spent the past two weeks on. I mainly penned it because I finished my other story during my previous Camp session and I hadn’t hit my personal goal. However, it was fun to write, I got to know two characters I never got to spend a bunch of time with, and figured out a few things about the characters I already knew. Beyond that, it was practice.
I always feel a bit stranded when I finish a story. Instead of traveler dying of thirst finally approaching an oasis, I feel more like I allowed someone to drive off in a car that I just paid for. It’s a nice feeling, but it’s a bit bewildering. I feel like I’m still standing in the parking lot going, “Now what?”
Before I start in on another story idea, before I start rereading my old stories, and before I get lost in the wonderful/frustrating world of editing, though, I celebrate the accomplishment. Hooray! They’re in love! The baby made it! Hooray! I’M DONE!
Though I’m on a diet, I bought jelly beans and chocolate ice cream tonight. I might go out later in the week and treat myself to a meal. Why? Because I’m DONE. I will always want to take the time to revel in the fact that I finished another story. Whether or not I do anything with this particular story line (most likely, just research and practice), I will still celebrate my victory.
The bewilderment of “what next?” will come in a few days, after I’ve read some of my stories and my fingers are itching to do something productive story-wise. At the moment, I have no more story plans. I will focus my time and energy on my novel later, when I figure out what to do next. Until that time, I am stuck in limbo.
I am taking the time to write it down now, before I can worry about it. I’m not worried. I know I will have a story idea when November hits. It always happens. It may be the week before November, but it will happen. I have faith.
My advice to newer writers: Celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t panic about that next idea. It will come. Oh, and don’t get so busy writing that you stop being a reader.
Guess I need to take my own advice now…