I’ve recently completed the story that I’ve been working on for nearly a year. It’s definitely not my longest one—careful planning prevented those pointless, fluffy, writer’s block-fuelled chapters from slipping in—but probably one of the pieces of work that makes me the most proud.
When I wrote the words THE END, a sense of real accomplishment overcame me. Rather than just relief at having completed another story, I was pleased with the way I’d tackled issues within the book and managed to draw everything together to tie up those loose ends—or so I hope I have, anyway.
The response from readers was incredible, too, reminding me how lucky I am to have such a kind and loyal readership.
Of course, there’s always one question that arises when you finish writing a story:
What will your next book be about?
It’s not just the readers who are asking, either.
Whilst finishing a story does evoke that sense of accomplishment and relief, it also stirs up another emotion: apprehension.
What do I work on next? Do I stick to this genre or branch out? Should I write the whole story before posting online, or should I post as I go? Should I even post my next story online? Maybe I should concentrate on writing for myself rather than facing the daily pressure of keeping readers happy with updates.
Those thoughts have been swirling around my head ever since I posted that last chapter. It’s not like I don’t have other works in progress; it’s choosing which one to focus on, or whether I just dip in and out of them all.
Although I am exceptionally grateful to everyone who follows and reads my stories—and I still can’t believe how many followers I have—I can’t ignore the pressure that comes with uploading something new. Not only is there the dread of whether your readers will enjoy it or not, there’s also the dread of receiving abusive messages if they do like it and you’re just not updating quickly enough for them.
Between a full-time job, moving house and planning a wedding, I often struggle to find the time to write—despite spending a lot of my day thinking about writing. When I do find the time, I worry that the story won’t live up to loyal readers’ expectations—especially when I can’t quite decide where to focus my attention.
The majority of my past stories have all revolved around similar genres: romance, friendship, teen fiction transitioning into young adult and then new adult as I grew older. They say it’s good to have a brand but I’m always tempted to branch into something new. I’d love to write a mystery or thriller, but know how much intricate planning that would involve in order to pull it off.
I suppose now it’s just a case of choosing whether to stay within my comfort zone, writing the stories I’m used to and the stories my readers expect, or taking a risk and trying something completely different that will be challenging but hopefully improve my writing skills at the same time.
What’s your next step when completing a story? Do you prefer to stick to one genre or try a different one?