Sometimes it is as hard to end a story as to begin one. And I don’t mean find the ending; I mean acknowledge that it is over. It is not just that you must surrender that story to the rest of the world, where by the magical combination of language and imagination it will belong as completely to anyone who reads it as it ever belonged to you. This is difficult enough in its own way because hopefully you loved that story. Hopefully you were delighted to find it and looked forward to joining it every day at your desk no matter how often it seemed that you and this story were incompatible.
It was love that brought you to the story and love that helped you tell it. There was nothing else to keep you there. Everything you might hope to gain from it—all the money and accolades and platform-building—all of that would come later if it came at all. Love, meanwhile, would be there for you in every moment of the telling, if you but turned your attention to it. There is no better, or really, other companion.
But the story must end. No matter how much you love it, it must end. And you end it not because there is absolutely nothing more that could be done with the story. You could always do more. All endings are in their own way artificial. Instead, you end it because it is no longer in service to you. There is nowhere else for you to go within this story. In fact, you have already begun thinking about the next story.
It is a little hard to believe as you close that book that it is over. It consumed your thoughts, both waking and sleeping, while you were in the middle of writing it. Your moods rose and fell with each day’s work. Sometimes removing or replacing a single word felt as weighty as picking a president. Now, it is a little hard to remember why it felt so important. Now, you feel something prickling in you, and it’s got your attention in such a way that you’re not sure if you’re actually forgetting that other story, or remembering the pleasure of discovery.
Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.
“A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.