Postpartum… Oh, I mean Post-Novel, Depression

Fell in Love With His StyleBe A Novelist

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the author Lawrence Block or not.  When I first began subscribing to the Writer’s Digest magazine, Block had a column in each issue. All those years ago, I fell in love with his style and his personality in print. He makes me laugh – at myself as a writer.  He reminds me that other human beings exist in this world who have some of the same goofy emotions that I experience.

When talking about finishing a novel he compares it to after a mother gives birth and then experiences postpartum depression.  His idea for the cure is to jump right into the next novel.  He further states:

We writers tend to regard ourselves as unique specimens of humanity, so it may be reassuring to know that one is not the first person in the world to have finished a novel and wanted to throw up.

Okay, I’m laughing – at me!

Be A NovelistDepression Upon Success

Lawrence Block, in his same silly style, goes on to say that such depression can come even if your novel is published and is a great success. And he asks, “Does that seem strange?” Then he explains, “Here’s how the writer’s mind adds it all up:

The book’s a success. Gee, that’s terrific. But wait a minute. It can’t really be that good. I know it can’t be that good, because I’m the guy who wrote it, and I’m not that good, so how good can it be, huh? Now sooner or later they’re gonna find out it’s not as good as they think it is, and where’ll I be then? And anyway what difference does it make if it’s good or not? Because one thing’s sure. I couldn’t possibly write anything that good again. Matter of fact, I don’t think I could write anything halfway decent again. Come to reflect on it, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t write anything again, decent or otherwise. I think I’ll throw my typewriter out the window. I think I’ll throw myself out the window. I think…”

Okay, I’m laughing again.

You Are Not Alone

Only a writer (or artist of some type) would ever be able to write this. Only a writer (or artist of some type) would ever be able to read this and be unable to suppress the giggles. We SO relate.

I wanted to post this today to reassure you that if your stomach churns and bubbles every time you start writing your novel, or when you think about writing your novel, or when you are in the middle of your novel, or when you have written the last page of your novel, you can now and forever be confident of this one fact – you are not alone.

Just as well keep on writing. It’s the only known cure.

Well, that and laughing at yourself!

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I trust the teaching and instruction given in this blog post was helpful in your goal to be a novelistFor more in-depth writer’s workshops, check out the wide variety offered at the Be A Novelist Website.

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5 thoughts on “Postpartum… Oh, I mean Post-Novel, Depression

  1. linneann

    “Now sooner or later they’re gonna find out it’s not as good as they think it is…” Every day…every day, I think this. Except, I don’t think it’s funny. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Norma Jean Lutz

      Thanks for being so candid! Self-doubt. Has there ever in all of time, been a writer who did not struggle with it? To me, the funny part, is that I SO relate to Block’s crazy internal dialogue.

      Reply
  2. Charlyne

    I’ve written numerous plays in hope that I will write the novel in me. All plays were produced and I even received pay for most of them . But, I cringe at the word ‘novel’ but really desire to write one. I am starting NaNo again for the second year. MAYBE this is my year.! Thanks for a fun read and I am a fan of Mr. Block’s writing.

    Reply

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