The loneliness of typing “the end”

In blackholly‘s journal we were talking about the loneliness of writing, which I said for me has a lot to do with the fact that I’m living with characters and in a place that no one but me knows. Things happen there, and while I know other writers and so am lucky enough to have other people I can talk to who really do get it, I’m still the only one who’s really there.

But today I was thinking about how finishing a story–whether to set it aside for a time or to send it out–is in some ways lonelier still. After all, I’ve been living with the characters involved for weeks or months or occasionally years; and abruptly I’m done with them and they’re done with me, and it’s time to set them aside completely, until for whichever reason it becomes time to visit the project again.

I think this has a lot to do with the “post partum” effect of finishing a book that a lot of writers I know experience. It’s a sort of loneliness, of setting aside something one has gotten to know, has been wearing beneath one’s skin, for some time.

How do those of you who write feel at the end of a story? And what, if anything, do you do in response?

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