i knew this day was coming, but i kept on going anyway, until it’s finally here. the day when i finished writing a story.
that doesn’t sound too big of a deal, does it? but it is a big deal to me. because this story has occupied my head (and heart) for around 15 years. until now. now it’s finally there, black on white, albeit only inside the computer and not printed out, but still.
when i was around 8 or 9, i had this small notebook, in which i would write short stories. i started doing this because i once saw a classmate of mine writing her short stories into her own notebook, and she wouldn’t let anyone read it. she said i especially couldn’t read it, because she wrote something inspired by me and this other classmate (a boy) that the whole class seemed to think had a thing for me, LOL. i guess i decided then that i could write my own story if she wouldn’t let me read hers, so i did. the short stories i wrote were all based on what i experienced, or what the people around me experienced. i would make a few illustrations too, since my real passion was drawing after all. after writing around 6 or 7 stories, i ran out of ideas. 😀 and i guess i decided that drawing was much better, so i moved on to… making comics.
oh, those were the days when Japanese manga was something new and exciting, so i began to draw comics. i’d staple 4 sheets of A4 papers in the middle, fold them, and start drawing on it. after i was done drawing in all of the pages, hey presto! it’s a comic book! 😉 just like before, i drew what i knew. girls, elementary school life, the beginning of puberty, etc.
after a while, i moved on to drawing on A4 papers, without making it into a book. 1 sheet of A4 drawn on both sides, and that’s it, one “volume” of a very short manga, to be continued to the next A4 paper. after this mode, i moved on to drawing on blank loose leaf, and this way i could always add new pages whenever i felt like it. sometimes i even drew 2 different mangas at the same time (2 different stories altogether), so whenever i was bored with the other one, i could switch to the other, and vice versa.
i went quite far with drawing. i even attended a manga school. yes, seriously. i was around 20 by this time. i had a Japanese mangaka teaching us how to draw manga the REAL way, and the papers we used were B4 sized. well, that’s a bit hard to get, but then i practiced using A3 papers, which is a tiny bit bigger than B4. again i started many mangas at once, switching between this one and that one.
simultaneously, i started writing again. in high school, i wrote horror stories (hey, RL Stine was popular back then!), and then in college, i wrote light romantic stories (highly influenced by my fascination over Japanese drama series).
unfortunately, all of these “projects” had one thing in common. they’d die before they were even finished. i did manage to finish one manga when i was in middle school, but it was one of those that i lost interest with and decided to put the word “the end”, just so that it would end, LOL. another unfortunate thing is that they’re all probably gone, all those hundreds or thousands of papers, during all the recurring floods at my parent’s house.
about 2 years ago, i felt the need to write again. i was thinking, well, i probably won’t finish this, AGAIN, what else is new. but i had to let it out somewhere, these stories i had in my head. it got very near to the end, before i again put it on hold. again, i began to feel that it’s just way too cheesy, i didn’t have the energy to turn into a blue cheese myself, LOL.
by the end of last year, something suddenly came back to me. a story i had in my head when i was around 14, that i never got the chance to write or draw, except for the 3 main characters. and then i thought, hmm… what if i start to write that now? and the funny thing was, i actually already have the ending in my head too. not just the ending, but also the beginning, and the middle part.
so i began writing it late last December. i started at the end, and continued with the beginning. all the free time i had, i used it to write. it was almost like magic, since the story had been in my head for so long, writing it down didn’t even take that long. those times when i didn’t write, i would use to write down the “sketches”, scenes to fill in the gaps between the main ideas that were already done in my head. connecting the beginning to the middle and to the end. sometimes, i felt like going back to my old habit, to leave the story unfinished. but for some reason, i always managed to push myself to go back to writing it, come on, just one more page, one more, and one more, yes, that’s it… and before i knew it, i was back on the roll.
before i knew it, i was writing the last page of the last chapter. before i knew it, i already reached the 435th page of my story. before i knew it, i typed the last dot. period. the end.
and then, it hit me. the empty feeling afterwards.
this is something i’ve never felt, obviously, since i never did finish any story before this one. my husband said, i should feel happy that i’ve finally finished my writing. he said that it’s not really “gone” from me, but it’s now somewhere that i can read over and over again, and i don’t even have to try to remember how the story goes anymore, because it is now written down.
but i guess i’m still in a surreal mode right now, not quite believing that i’ve actually created a finished product that took years of process. it’s a different thing than when i finish sewing something, because, well, when i sew something, it usually lasts for 3 days at the max.
this one was, and is, so dear to me. i never told the story to anyone at all, and now it’s almost like i’ve shouted it to the whole world (even though i haven’t). well, okay, not really, but when you’re done creating something you’ve only had in your head all this time, you’d feel like you have, in a way, told it to the world… right? because now it’s there. it’s inside my computer, and i’ve sent it to my sister and mum to read and edit (hopefully, if they’re willing to!). it’s no longer just yours. it’s for someone, ANYONE else to see and read… to think about… to enjoy.
and now what?
yes, maybe i’ll try to publish it. maybe the empty feeling would subside after my story is really out there, or maybe it’ll just get worse. i don’t know.
what do writers do after finishing their writings, anyway? how do they get over the empty feeling inside, or am i the only one feeling it?