What did you feel like when you finished writing your first novel?

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group every month. Go to his blog to see the other participants, and understand what the group is all about.


I’ve been away the past two weeks, traveling, writing, offline. I wrote the last two chapters of my novel. They came easily, but also gave me a lot of anguish. I don’t know how much of myself I’ve put in the novel, in the characters, or the plot, but it is clear that parts of it upset me. The darkness of the subject matter, I suppose. Nearly all my writing has dark undertones. Though I almost always end on a note of hope, it is definitely painful for me and those who live with me!

tside my window in Malaysia
The view outside my window in Malaysia

This time, I had a beautiful horizon to gaze at while I wrote (thanks to a very kind Malaysian friend who lives in front of this view), so the words came easier. Something about gazing at the open seas makes me feel small, unimportant, and with little responsibility. That’s how I want to feel sometimes — because then the onus of finishing, say, a 91,000-word manuscript, is not so much on me. The sunsets were gorgeous, and made me think not-so-sadly of the sunset of my characters.

Sunset from my Malaysian window
Sunset from my Malaysian window

I lay down and did not get up for four days after I finished, flattened out by a series of backaches and headaches after I came back home. No amount of stretching and medication helped, so I went into hibernation. I’ve emerged after the weekend, shaky, sore, and ready to take on the world. I’m not sure what caused the systemic breakdown, but I’m glad it’s over.

Now, a break while I brush my blogs (namely, the A to Z Challenge — sign up now, if you haven’t already!), short stories, my reading, and my life. Then it is back to the novel — the grind of revisions, of edits, re-writes, more revisions.

What have You been up to in the last month?

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  1. criticalwrites

    I felt so…confused when I finished my novel. I remember typing the last sentence, staring at the screen for a few seconds and then opening a new document and immediately starting my next one! (I was a bit overtired that night haha)

  2. Yatin

    Not a professional write but I can relate the experience after accomplishing a major project. Yes I do take a break before the jitter starts about how it will perform in production.

  3. jackeiden

    Actually, you never finish a novel until it’s published and then it’s too late. Thanks for the kind words on Recovering

  4. Hart Johnson

    Oh, man–congrats on finishing your book, and if it took that much out of you, I bet it’s FABULOUS. Sorry though, about the painful post-mortem! I do envy your setting there…

  5. Gargi Mehra

    My thought echo Carissa’s. I’ve finished two novels and I always feel a bit nonplussed at the end, expecting it to have been more of a grand event. It’s very exciting, because I know the end for months and am working toward it. But once ‘The End’ is written, I’m like ‘Meh. What do I do now?’

    • Damyanti

      Classes need to be attended, too. I did my share of them,long ago 🙂

      Welcome on board the challenge! Your blog would never be the same again!

  6. Carissa

    I always feel a little deflated when I finish a writing project. I think somehow, in my mind, I build up this grand idea of what it will feel like when I finish. That I’ll be elated and excited and relieved … and I build it up so much that when it finally comes time, what I feel just falls a little flat. But in the aftermath – after I collapse for awhile and immerse myself in baking or crafting or a holiday or sleep … then I start to like it again.

    • Damyanti

      I think this is what happened to me, too. I was working on pure adrenalin for months, and in the end, I just collapsed.

  7. Arlee Bird

    I’m glad for the progress you’ve made. I wish I could say the same. I’ve been spending a lot of frustrating and circular time trying to get my computer working in optimal order for April. I think my computer is actually making me ill at times. Scary.

    Writers Workshop
    An A to Z Co-host blog

      • Arlee Bird

        My current financial situation prevents me from investing in a new computer at this time and actually my current computer is probably fine–I just don’t know enough about computers to effectively fix it quickly. This will be my #iwsg post tomorrow in fact.

        And this specific computer is not making me ill, but I think excessive time is having a somewhat ill effect–too much time sitting, looking at the screen, and all the other computer related things. I’ve started dreaming computers at night and thinking in computer format. It’s like a science fiction story. I’m addicted–it’s a love/hate relationship. But maybe not as bad as I’m making it sound.


        • Damyanti

          Wishing you all the best with your computer than. I’m just thinking, with AZ, your addiction is going to get So much worse!

  8. susielindau

    I can’t wait to finish mine. I am working on its 200th rewrite. I should finish in a couple weeks then off it goes to beta readers!