Letting Go

Writing is fraught with emotion. We feel everything our characters feel – sometimes tenfold. When we’re editing, we feel elation and complete ineptitude (sometimes all in the same paragraph). When it’s time to show our baby to our critique partners, we feel apprehension and hope.

And, that’s not including all that writers go through when we query. The highs and lows so vast that we pull G-forces without leaving our desk.

Yeah. You can see why we drink.

There’s another emotion plaguing me. It’s the sense of something coming to a close. The feeling that it’s time for me to say good-bye.letting-go

Last weekend, while finishing up a round of edits for Pardon Falls, my sequel to Phoenix, that overwhelming sense of both sadness and excitement took my breath away. The first time I felt this was when I gave Phoenix it’s final scrub before publication. I knew it was the last time I was taking that trip into a story I lived in for so long – akin to standing on the stage at graduation.

I know I’m not quite done with Pardon Falls. There’s still a bit of tweaking to do (Editor’s Note: Tweaking, not Twerking. I know you were thinking that), and some line edits. But, for me to feel that with the “novel that would never end” reassured me that maybe, finally, possibly I’m getting close.

It’s a bittersweet elation. How could I possibly be excited to say goodbye to this story and to characters that live with me every day?

I’m curious as to if it’s something exclusive to me. So, I asked a few of my writing buddies for their thoughts.

The lovely C.A. Szarek is the prolific author of eleventy billion books (seriously, that’s the count of her catalog). I asked her if she experiences this hesitation to let go with each of her stories. She assures me it gets easier with the more books we publish.

I get emotional too, but nothing compares to the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish a book. I also usually have to give a dreamy sigh or two since my couple is now in HEA land,” she said. 

Note to self: Maybe I should try my hand at happy endings. (There’s about three of you that’s doing the Butthead giggle right now. I know who you are.)

My good friend Jeff Bacot agrees with that reluctance to let a story go. Rumor has it that his follow up to On the Hole is complete, but until I asked his thoughts on this blog post, he hadn’t been able to put his finger on why he’s holding back. (Jeff, take your finger off it and let us see it for God’s sake!)

Chrissy also brings up a very valid point. When I finish a novel, it may be the end for me and that particular aspect of the writing journey, but it’s only the beginning for the people reading it.

So, while I say goodbye to Mandy, David and Josh, I hope the rest of you will welcome them with a heartfelt hello.

About Kimberly Packard

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years. When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Oliver the cat and a 75-pound lap dog named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors.
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5 Responses to Letting Go

  1. Chris Crawford says:

    Excited to read it, especially after the teasers during critique.

    To be honest, I’m having the opposite problem. After a year and a half of being consumed writing and editing my book, I’m ready to stop thinking about it and start talking about it. Not to mention, I’m still fleshing out the characters for my next project, and I’m excited to learn who they really are.

    • Kimberly Packard says:

      Thank you, Chris! Yeah, I’m feeling the pull of the next book I want to write. It’s all new characters and a subject I know nothing about, but am reading up on and becoming fascinated with. I can’t wait to start writing that one.

  2. TAWilliams says:

    Great post!
    The first time I wrote what I consider an actual story I was in college and I remember feeling exhausted, a sense of pride, and that same feeling of sadness. Like I was moving to a new town and was never going to see the people there again. It’s nice to know that is a normal thing, I just figured that I had a hard time letting things go. 🙂

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