Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Post-Partum Literary Depression

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.

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I read a Facebook post recently in which the person talked about Post-Partum Depression that results when you finish a project such as a story or painting. You've given birth to something you've created, and in the aftermath you feel down – PPD. He wrote that it's a feeling of emptiness. You don't know what to do. You don't want to watch TV. You don't want to start something new. All you feel is bored, restless, and even a little depressed.

Has it ever happened to you?

I recently went through a case of PPD when I recently finished writing "Full Moon Fever", my (so far) unpublished m/m werewolf erotic romance novel. At first, I was elated. I always celebrate finishing a project and getting an acceptance. My husband and I cracked open a bottle of champagne and made toasts. Granted, I drink champagne all the time, but this called for a new bottle. Delirious with glee, I spent the rest of the day getting tipsy and watching bad movies on TV.

About a day later, the depression hit. It was as if I had come down off a great high. Crashing describes it quite well. I missed my characters. I longed for the joy of seeing what kind of mischief they would get into. There were plenty of things for me to do, including writing a sequel but I felt so spent I couldn't work on anything, including my other works in progress.

I had to do something. Anything. This downer had to go.

After I wallowed in my misery for a day or two, I made a conscious decision to pull out of it. This kind of depression isn't like clinical depression in that I was able to pull myself out of it by distracting myself. What worked for me may not work for you, but here's what I did. First of all, I got away from the computer. For several days, I took a break from writing. I watched movies and my favorite TV shows. The kitchen got a workout because I baked. If it's sickeningly sweet, I'll bake it. This is the time I buy new plants for my container garden. If weather permits, I go for walks on the beach. I finished "Full Moon Fever" in the dead of winter so beach walks were out but scenic drives weren't.

For me, the key was getting out of my head. I needed time to recharge.

Everyone is different. Responses varied to that Facebook post. Some people didn't go through PPD – they celebrated. Others always had new projects in the works so they were working on something all the time. I've done that one myself, but not always. Some edit or sleep more. Others get out into the fresh air.


Do you suffer from Post-Partum Literary Depression? What do you do to alleviate it?

6 comments:

  1. For me this is yet another form of drop: sub-drop, con-drop, theatre-drop… in fact that last one was the worst: after directing Macbeth and completing the run I felt utterly lost. What to do with my time? My energy? Suddenly I wasn't at the heart of a project which had nourished me.

    I think for me it just takes time. I have to bring myself back; find a way to be excited about the next thing. Fortunately there always is a next thing, even if it takes a while to appear. Oh, and yes, baking really does help.

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  2. I suffer from it too. Work is the only way I know out of it, although it's good to recharge the creative batteries.

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  3. Good points, Harper. Especially the one about not being at the heart of a project that had nurtured you. Plus there's always the next project, as you said.

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  4. I feel the same way, Kathleen. Work is one way out of it for me - starting a new project. The batteries need replenishing.

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  5. I don't feel depressed. I feel elated.

    But I do have trouble starting a new project immediately after finishing the last. I think it's laziness. I resist the notion of working that hard, AGAIN...

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  6. Thanks, Lisabet. I heard from people who were elated upon finishing a project. They celebrated. I sometimes have difficulty starting a new project after finishing one, too, but I usually have several projects going at once. I take a few days off after finishing one. I hear you about resisting the notion to work that hard again. ;)

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