This past Friday, our Lynne Cantwell wrote a post about the Importance of Being Earnest or the Unbearable Lightness of Being Done or something like that, after writing an entire series of five books in one year. Show off. But now she’s feeling that post-partum depression. Well I could have told you that would happen.
There are many cures for this kind of thing, and I’m going to share them with you. Call your shrink and cancel that appointment. I’m saving you like 90 bucks by giving you this advice for free. You must be feeling a tad guilty over that – am I right? See? I know you just as well as your therapist, but without the inconvenient office visits. In any case, here are the top ten keys to preventing and avoiding end of book depression.
#1 – Embrace your ADHD. That will compel you to have multiple projects going at the same time. This will benefit you in two ways: a) if you manage to finish a project, you can just shift all your energies into one of your others; and b) you reduce your chances of actually finishing anything, therefore avoiding that depressing feeling!
#2 – Drag out your series. That’s right, keep your readers in suspense for years! They don’t need that sequel right away. Keep ’em hanging. With seven books planned in my Agent Night Adventure Series, and about twelve years in between installments, I’ll be publishing sequels long after I’m dead, again, avoiding that depressing feeling!
#3 – Set ridiculous deadlines. Multiple projects and unrealistic deadlines are a sure way to prevent depression. Just tell the world you will have your next book, and the one after that, done in an amount of time that causes you to have to write non-stop, and you won’t even know you finished one before you’re on to the next, desperately trying to get that one done before time runs out. If you don’t you’ll look like a dope to your audience since you’ve already publicly committed yourself to a date. The amount of stress you’ll be feeling will be tantamount. Then, when you finish the second one, you’ll be so relieved, and on top of that, you won’t even have the energy to be sad.
#4 – Procrastinate. Ah yes, waiting until the last minute to crank out a book or two is a great way to go. There are a bunch of things you can be doing instead of actually writing. Need suggestions? Here are ten. Again, procrastinate, then type your fingers off to get that book done. This works even better if you pair it with a ridiculous deadline.
#5 – Add difficult aspects. Who can be depressed after finishing a particular trying novel? Add locations and details, or diseases and procedures, or something that’s just really hard to research and difficult to write about. By the time you’re done with it, not only will you be drained, you’ll be glad to be rid of the darn thing!
#6 – Wait to finish. Don’t write the whole book at once. That’s really setting yourself up to be bummed out. Write 90% of the book, then start on a new one. Once the momentum of the new book starts to pick up, break away and finish the first one. Rinse, repeat. Ba-da-bing, baby! Problem solved.
#7 – Write something you hate. Why not, right? You like happily ever after endings? Write something post-apocalyptic and kill off everyone. Figure out which genre makes your skin crawl and write it. That will benefit your back list while at the same time keeping you detached so that when you’ve finished the project, you won’t be sad.
#8 – Collaborate. Find someone else to write with you. That way, the book is only half yours, so you’ll only be half as depressed when you finish it. Obviously, this works exponentially, so the more people you work with on a project, the less depressed you’ll be.
#9 – Never end a series. Seriously, why bother? Write a prequel or an off-shoot or just go ahead and write the 3D digitally-enhanced rehashed outtake version. Hey, it works for Hollywood, right?
#10 – Hypnosis. If you can’t manage to try any of the nine cure-alls above, hypnosis is your only other option. Here are some lines you can repeat to yourself to help ease the after book blues. “It is good to be done. I’ve accomplished much!” Donate to Indies Unlimited. “It is good to be done. I have a new book on the back list!” Click on that PayPal button. “It is good to be done. I feel good about it!” Click it! You know you want to.
So there you have it. No matter what, if you finished a book, you should feel good! Now go ahead and donate a portion of the money I just saved you from paying your shrink, and you’ll feel even better! No? I think maybe you should read #10 again.