Is It Post-Book-Partum Depression?

It’s done! Yay! You wrote “The End” in your manuscript. You bask in the glow of accomplishment, of pride, of completion.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? You’ve worked so hard for so long and it’s finally a done deal. Aren’t you allowed to enjoy the fruits of your labours? Haven’t you earned it? Of course you have!

I think most of us do feel that rush for a bit. But it doesn’t last long – at least not for me. From what I have heard others say, many can relate. That euphoria doesn’t last long.

So this is a post of self-exposure self-disclosure. Even before the last edit run came back from my editor I felt a let-down that hasn’t let me go ever since. So, now I ask – is it post-partum? The weight that makes the whole thing feel like more than I can face?

I was proud of my accomplishment. But … then the rest of reality came rushing in. I had held it at bay for a while but the pressure broke the barriers. It’s all those questions. Is it good enough? Will my fans like it as well as the other ones? How many errors are there still in it? How do I find them and fix them? Oh, yeah, that one especially. How do I fix them?

Then there’s all the new work I have to do to get it out there. So I procrastinate. I plan. I think. I stress. I stress. I stress. Then I need to do at least something to relieve the stress. One thing to get me back to the point where I can procrastinate again.

I got it formatted. I even loaded it all by myself onto Smashwords and Kindle. Then onto CreateSpace and ordered that proof – the book in hand that says “You really did this.” Ah, but where is that glow? Why do things feel so bleak?

I have my posters, bookmarks, and new business cards. They look great. The hall is booked for my local launch. The food and coffee sponsors are confirmed.

The sneak peek is up on my website. I even have an interview written up and ready, as requested.

That’s all good, right? I should feel proud, right? Nope. It’s not good enough. All I see is what isn’t done. The Facebook event I haven’t set up. The emails, tweets and Facebook announcements I have not done. The other promo sites I have not submitted to.

And those picky, rotten, little editing errors that keep showing up at the most inconvenient times – like after I’ve already loaded it up, kissed it goodbye and sent it merrily on its way. Those are the worst. It’s a new thing I have to learn, see. On the torture rack computer – the bane of my writerly life. It hates me, see? It won’t cooperate. It mocks me.

So, I procrastinate. I try to tell myself there are not enough errors to worry about. I don’t really need to pull the whole thing down and correct them. They’re so tiny, so few, so insignificant. Right? Hah! No, no no, that will never do. I already worry about them, so I’ve already made a liar out of myself. Those pesky things have to go. Maybe, tomorrow. Not now. Not today. I play Facebook games and solitaire. It’s boring but at least I’m not doing what I need to do. (Er, what? Are you mad? That makes no sense.)

I procrastinate. I go to bed. I fall asleep. And I wake up – in a sweat. It’s three a.m. No more sleep for me. The anxiety won’t let me relax. The gloom descends.

So, any fool can see that I have done a fair bit. There is more to do but – really – haven’t I accomplished a lot already? Can’t I see the good things? Of course not. It’s never enough – never good enough. There’s always more that’s needed – like hashtags to learn to use, links to add, images to put into posts … oh, sorry, am I ranting off topic now? Sigh. I didn’t mean to go there. It won’t happen again. I promise. Yes, you did say you’d help. I am grateful. Really. Don’t hate me. (Heavy sigh).

So, I ask you – is it post-partum?

(Disclaimer. While some of this is true much of it is tongue-in-cheek. I don’t need an intervention – honest.)

Author: Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, with degrees in psychology and Sociology. Her Fantasy trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received. Learn more about Yvonne at her blog and her Amazon author page.

30 thoughts on “Is It Post-Book-Partum Depression?”

  1. Spot on, Yvonne, there always seems to be something else to do. We might type ‘The End’, but I’m not sure there ever is an end. And would we really want one? Or would it be like sending our babies out into the world, never to see them again?

  2. There is always the feeling of something else that could be done. But it is important to let it go. And have something else started. I think allowing yourself to “celebrate” the steps along the way helps. I saw a post on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds about “shooting off the cupcake cannons,” as a way to celebrate milestones along the way.

    Because you have to let it go and move on to the next one.

    So, shoot off the cupcake cannons! Celebrate!

  3. Great post, Yvonne! I can totally relate…One thing I’ve found helps is to give myself one full day off with permission to celebrate. No writing (unless I want to), no promo…just doing what I want to do. If I want to read all day, or watch movies or go hiking–it’s my little treat for a job well done. Because you know, Yvonne it is a JOB WELL DONE 🙂 Congratulations!

  4. Another thing that crushes me is the emotional separation from my fictional world and its characters. I grow close to them–and suddenly they’re gone. Maybe that’s why so many authors write sequels.

  5. Congrats on your release of The Dreamt Child, Yvonne! 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean about the stress. With all the book launch tasks you have to do, it’s like playing Whack-a-Mole — you knock one thing off the list and another three pop up. Ugh.

  6. I can sympathize. I often feel like my brain is my own worst enemy, and I can see yours likes to torture you as well. Unfortunately, I have no good advice for a remedy. But congratulations on your book–that is a huge accomplishment!

  7. I have a feeling we all fall off that runner’s (writer’s?) high when we’re done with a creation, and then the real world starts banging on the door. I’ve found so often than I send my little baby off to school and think it’s done and I can go on to the next thing and … it’s back, needing more promo, more price-pulsing, more contests. It’s a constant push-pull between the last book, the next one and the rest of the world. But you’re definitely not alone in any of this (even the Solitaire). Sometimes the mindless stuff helps to calm the brain. Great post, Yvonne. Just shows how human we all are.

  8. So good to hear that I’m not the only one that goes through this. I’m experiencing the same thing now. The best medicine … start the next one!

  9. The first couple of novels I was really excited. Now, as I await #10 to come back from my editor, I agree, where did my excitement go? Now it’s just planning the next book, next release, getting the cover done, formatting, and the like. Do I still enjoy writing? Oh, definitely yes, but some days I need a break.

  10. I feel your pain. The work is neverending, but if we didn’t love writing, or at least holding the finished product in our hands, we’d have given up long ago.

  11. There’s only one cure for what ails thee Yvonne…you have to start a new story. Once you have that idea tickling the back of your brain you’ll rush through all the administrative bumpf just so you can play with the new story again. And in case you’re wondering what to write /about/, may I suggest you take a walk on the wild side? Months and months ago you wrote a flash fiction story that was so dark and wonderful my jaw dropped. I can’t remember the title or anything but I do remember thinking, ‘Wow’. So there you have it. Start writing; you’ll feel better in no time. -hugs-

    1. You’re likely right. I can’t remember that story for the life of me. ??
      But I do have two ideas warring in my head right now and don’t know which one to go with. So should I toss a coin? 😉

  12. Great post Yvonne. I am there now too. What else should I be doing? Have I done enough? The stress is high and my body is having a hard time with it by having more reactions than normal. I have had to step back a little – haven’t tweeted in about three days. Then I feel bad because I have done that.

Comments are closed.