Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Writer's Depression...

As many of you know, I suffer from depression.  It’s nothing too serious.  It’s just one of those things that makes me who I am.  It could be a beautiful spring day, the sun shining, birds singing, the leaves all green and waving in the warm gentle breezes—and I still have a tendency to feel down. That’s who I am.  I’m an Eeyore.

This time of year is particularly difficult for me.  The school year just ended.  I’m coming off the stress of grading hundreds of finals and papers . . . and students are complaining because they only got an “A-.”

However, I’m a bit down today for another reason.  You see, I just finished the second draft of my third manuscript (tentatively titled, Blood in Snow).

This is problematic for a couple reasons. 

First, Blood in Snow is the last of the trilogy that Diversion Books has contracted me to write.  I don’t know if they’ll have me write anything else.  So it’s a bit of an end for some characters that I’ve grown to love.  In a strange way, I feel as if there’s been a death.  Friends are gone and I’m never going to see them again.

Second, the end of the second draft is a kind of milestone for me when I write.  The first draft is all helter skelter—paragraphs incomplete, dialogue long and rambling, conflicting details in the plot—it’s just a skeleton of the actual story. 

During the second draft, I flesh the skeleton out.  I fix the holes in the plot, complete the fragmented sentences, and get things in better order.  I then set the manuscript aside for a few months, letting it germinate, so to speak, before I polish it a couple more times.

There in rises the problem . . .   I don’t have anything to do.

Oh, I’m sure I should start another manuscript.  Maybe I could even begin working on a fourth book in the series and hope that the first three sell well enough for the publisher to buy it. 

I should. . .

But I can’t.

My heart just isn’t in it.  I don’t know why.  I’m just not in that mindset.  I’m in a funk and I’m having difficulty getting out.  

Deep hole filled with fuzzy darkness . . .

I suppose that I just need time to “mourn” the passing of my characters and the completion of my contractual obligations to Diversion Books.

Maybe I need another “hobby”/”compulsion” on which I could perseverate. 

Maybe I should see this point as a success and be happy!  After all, I set out to do something I’ve always dreamed about doing…and I did it!!  What’s more, many of you seem to like my little stories.

But I can’t.   I’m an Eeyore and seeing the dim side of the bright lining is what being an Eeyore is all about. 

“Oh, bother . . .”

I suppose if I stare at my beloved computer screen long enough, the radioactive glow will eventually warm my heart…and I’ll start writing again.  Only time will tell.

Do any of you have this issue?  Do you feel really down after you complete a manuscript?  What do you do to pull yourself out of it?


  1. Nope. Don't feel down at all. In fact, I just finished the final edit on my own novel and I feel great! Relieved, actually. Excited maybe a little. But then again, I have four other books in that series/collection to look forward to editing/writing/polishing up, then a novella in there somewhere, plus a humorous middle grade novel to finish up and edit through.

    Yeah, it's sad when one finishes a novel, and a whole series. But who says you can't go on to write other characters' viewpoints, Robert? I know you say your heart's just not in it. But, I suspect your characters won't leave you alone. Lol! You'll be compelled to write another book, either from a different perspective about a whole different issue, or maybe another character who's been hiding in the back of your brain will step forward and prod you to write his story.

    Hey, you're a writer. We don't stop writing -- regardless. Heck, I even plan to write in the afterlife. :D

    Ah, my gloomy Eeyore friend. :) Writing will come again after your series is through. You'll see . . . maybe.

    1. I like the idea of writing the same story from somebody else's perspective. When I was a kid, I always wanted to write the Lord of the Rings from Sauron's POV. That would be really cool.

      I'd also like to write Riddle in Stone again, but this time from the goblins' POV. I brought the subject up with my agent, but she didn't seem to think that people would want to read about evil characters.

      Something to think about, I suppose!

      I'm sure I'll keep writing. It's just ending a book is always a bit of a let down :( But I'll get better!

  2. I feel panic - panic that afterwards nothing else will come to me and that in truth I'm not a writer at all, just someone with one idea and nothing more. I'm happy to say I've discovered that's not true.

    Head up though, you'll find new characters to fall in love with all over again, and yes, you did it, the hard way - something I hope to do one day...

    1. Writing always starts with one idea...then another and another. That's what drafts are for. So keep with it Sharena!! You're a writer even if you don't think so:)

  3. Take a little breather, relax, have a drink, mull over your options for a week or two. Then get back to writing!

    Just because you finished the third book in the series, doesn't mean the characters have to die. If you want to do a fourth book and publish it independently, go ahead. If you don't, then that's your right.

    You don't have to write anything major but you do have to keep on writing. Keep your creative juices flowing. Maybe write a short story on how the diary made its way to Edmund. Even if you don't use it for the series, it might lead to a jumping off point for another series.

    Maybe write a short story about the original battle with the undead king, kind of like what Terry Brooks did with First King of Shannara. Or a story about how any of the captives made it to the mines.

    There is so much you can do and you are certainly talented enough to do it!

    1. I've never been able to write short stories. They're much too hard for me. I can never narrow the plot down to a few dozen pages.

      Still...I'll take your advice and relax a bit. Things will come--although we'll see about how much talent I have:)

  4. I think you need to start a completely new story in a completely new universe with completely new characters to fall in love with. The truth is, I'm not at the point of having a completed series yet (so maybe I should shut up), but I don't think I will mourn the passing of my characters too much, because I have so many other characters and stories in my head just waiting to be written! Give yourself permission to move on, find another idea that inspires you. You are already so far ahead so many others (like myself - still editing my first book ever!), so be proud of that! And try not to fall so in love with your characters that it's no longer fun to write about anyone else. :)