The End of a project: What’s Next?

“For masterpieces are not single and solitary births: they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people…so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.” –Virginia Woolf

“Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.” –Anne Frank

“The only way to enjoy anything in life is to earn it first.” –Ginger Rogers

“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.” –Bette Davis

Bedroom Book Shelf
Bedroom Book Shelf

Humans are interesting. Do you do this? You’ve been working on a big project. It’s a success, but instead of feeling joy, you feel a big let down? I do it all the time. Whenever a play I’ve been directing ends its run, I feel both happy, and sad. I’m happy that the play was a success, but sad because the associations are over. I won’t be working with the actors, and crew again, perhaps forever. And as my college mentor used to say, I’ll miss the characters. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that success is an ephemeral thing. The good feelings don’t last forever, and there is so much more to me, than the things I’ve accomplished.

This week, my emotions have been bouncing around, which is unusual for me. I’ve felt elated, frustrated, sad and lost, all because my novel is nearing completion. Four or five people are reading it to help me improve the storyline. I’m anxious to get their comments back. One minute, I’m sure they won’t like it, and I’ll have to do major revisions before it can be published. The next, I’m sure the basic story is good, and I’ll only need to make minor revisions. I’m excited to be close to completing the work after four plus years. However, I also feel uncertain. What will my next novel be about?

I hadn’t thought of doing a series of books when I began this novel, but I understand why they’re so popular. I’ve become attached to my characters. I’m not sure I want to let them go just yet. Then, I do this funny thing after seeing a movie, play, or reading a book I love, I think about what would happen to the characters after I’ve seen the last frame, or read the last page. What will their lives be like? What other adventures will they enjoy?

I’ve been thinking those thoughts about the characters in my book. I did set up the possibility of a second, and possibly third novel with this same set of characters, but I wasn’t seriously thinking about writing sequels until this past week.

What prompted me to consider writing a series of books, is due to two things. First, two of the very minor characters in the book are Suffragettes. The other had to do with reading “A Room of One’s Own”, by Virginia Woolf, my book club group selection for this month. It’s considered a feminist document simply because she’s reflecting on what a woman needs to express her genius in the same way men have been able to do for centuries. (Side note: She’s not anti-men in her reflections, which I thoroughly appreciated. The men in my life, are fantastic, and highly supportive.)

So, I’ve been thinking about going back to those Suffragette characters, and exploring how they made a difference for women like me; women who want to develop their creative skills, and be more than just a housewife and mother.

What’s interesting about this budding idea is that, for most of my life, my close friends were men. I went to two different high schools, and had one woman friend at each one. The rest of my friends were young men, and I don’t mean the men I dated. It was the same in college. Of course, that was because my first degree was in Religious Studies, as I’ve written before, and I was the only woman in most of the classes. It’s only been in the last few years, that I’ve had close women friends. So, I’ve got this growing idea to do some exploring about the roles of women in society, and how we’ve changed it.

As of today, I haven’t made up my mind about what my next writing project will be. All I know, is that I’m going to begin another novel project right away. I won’t be able to improve my skills by sitting around waiting for book sales. One thing I’ve learned since I began this writing adventure is that I must do the work. That’s what gives me joy, and makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. What makes you want to get out of bed every morning?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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4 thoughts on “The End of a project: What’s Next?

  1. My wild guess, Lucinda, is your readers will love the book. And I surely understand the mixed feelings at the end of a project – I have had those feelings so very often. The project I am in now (house repairs) is so very overwhelming that once I get it done, I think, though, that all I will feel is relief!

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  2. I think that’s a pretty common feeling amongst artists and creatives…After a show or project, I need to take a break from the studio. And it’s not because I need a rest…it’s more a chance to reboot…think about the last project and give it closure. You have been so immersed in your alternate world, you will need a day or two to get over the jet-lag upon your return. Can’t wait to read it.

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  3. Alan, I know you are right. It takes me a bit longer than one day to feel my way to the new project. This time, I’m detaching myself a bit early and deciding what’s going to happen next in the lives of my characters.

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