Do you have Post-Novel Depression?

By CBramkamp Writing Encouragement Comments Off on Do you have Post-Novel Depression?

A client just finished writing a really exciting book. The book flowed out, she was completely obsessed and focused. And now it was finished. She admitted she felt un-moored, let down and even a little weepy.

Normal, completely normal.

Sometimes, if a writer is lucky, birthing a book is like birthing a baby. A book requires at least nine months of focus and concentration. A successful book project will be a constant distraction because that growing book is always with you – expanding larger by the month. And once it’s over, once the books is complete, you do feel a bit disappointed, at a loss, at loose ends: post-partum depression sets in. Suddenly you no longer have a growing vision replete with possibilities, you have a squalling, demanding full book on your hands. Now you must market, find an agent (baby sitter), dress it up in a pretty cover. All of these are necessary activities, but uniquely divorced from the joy of basic creation.

What will help ease the transition?

Return to the creative work that got you here in the first place. Start up another book.

Nurture your creativity with un-like activities. If you write, go to the museum. If you paint, write a poem. If you are a poet, attend the theater. If you can afford it, spend a full week at a retreat or a week at the Shakespeare festival, or a week hiking in an appealing form of wilderness.

Watch favorite movies back to back, consider what elements make them your favorite.

Walk outside. A long day hike would be fabulous.

Have sex.

Spend a weekend reading five books in your genre back to back. Can you do better? That’s the clue you’re ready to start again.

Give up and show off the book. Secure a cover artist to dress the book. Write the proposal and clean up the first thirty pages, practice your 30 second elevator speech. Investigate agents or publication options for the work.

Decide where your work falls into, what category? Read a few more books in that popular category.

Creating and finishing a book is exhausting. Event though it looks like a writer is “just sitting” at their desk or at their computer, writing consumes all our energies and often when careening down to the final scene, we are fully distracted, fully, physically engaged. And it can be surprisingly difficult to leave the book behind. Take care of yourself, it’s perfectly normal.

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