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Dealing with Post-Novel Depression

By LoveReading


Writing a novel is giving your story and characters life; the way an author makes his book and its characters realistic is by putting his very soul into it. Once the novel is finished, this world that sprung from imagination exists forever on the page, but it's frozen at a certain point in time. This can cause distress for the author, at a time which he is already dealing with a lot of stress. A number of symptoms can rear their ugly head.

Symptom 1 – Feelings of Isolation

After writing a novel, a certain amount of editing is required before submitting the final manuscript. This editing may take months or even years, and this can cause feelings of isolation. Spending a lot of time writing has already isolated the author from their nearest and dearest. Social interaction is crucial in every person’s life. The author at this stage can feel lonely and cut off from the outer world, and these feelings can exacerbate other negative thoughts and distort them.

Symptom 2 - Anger

The author has been living in a virtual world of his own making, with virtual characters that he feels he can on one hand control, but also cannot allow them to step outside their natural ways of thinking. He can’t take his frustrations with the real world out on those virtual characters. So, he may vent his anger through aggressive behaviour towards the people who are very close to him. This is true of all artistic people. This behaviour is thrust upon the author’s friends and colleagues, and can be hard to control.

Symptom 3 - Doubt and Anxiety

Doubt and anxiety are one of the most common emotions an author goes through after finishing his novel. This is the time he turns to people close to him for feedback. Feedback is crucial, as the writer needs to get approval from others, and only after he gets approval can he move on with his life. One may also have to pay for critics and proofreading which can delay the process, and make the author feel that the work he has completed is not up to par.

It is very common for the re-write phase to go on indefinitely, as the writer never feels the work is complete. The definitive last lifting of the pen is a scary prospect, as one must say that the work is complete, and that is the best one could have done. This can lead to strong feelings of anxiety.

Symptom 4 - Depression

There are times when an author goes through a phase of depression. Depression usually sets in when the writer is facing trouble moving on to his next project. Looking back at the work that was completed, lots of authors feel that they did not write as well as they had hoped. At this point of time the author may feel he is a failure and he is ready to give up his passion for writing. Finishing a novel takes an extreme amount of effort, and the idea that one has to go through all of that again to complete another work can cause writers to procrastinate and avoid moving on to the next project. This listlessness can turn into deep depression.

Symptom 5 - Confusion

One has been working on the novel for months, possibly years, and as it nears completion one will devote more time to it and less to other things, like spending time with friends, exercising, and sleep. The book was so good in your mind but now it is falling apart, or it did not live up to your high expectations. The world seems odd to you, and if the reviews are less than positive you may feel like giving up completely.


To recover, first take care of yourself. Before starting a new project it is very important for a writer to be physically healthy and sound. Certainly is will take time for an author to return back to his normal life. Yoga is one of the best remedies an individual can choose.

Try to make plans and outings with friends whom you have neglected all the time you were writing the book. This will definitely usher in a wave of positivity, and will encourage you to move forward. Family plays a pivot role in this recovery an author. An author is thoroughly indebted to their spouse and children, who have been their support system throughout the phase. Spend time with your family again. The author must try to grow with each manuscript and move forward and be charged up to start with a new project.


Remember this saying: Every run, every race, every injury, every accomplishment, and every failure is an opportunity to learn. Every author’s work is full of triumphs and mistakes; it’s the author who is able to pick up the pen again and start a new project without dwelling on the negatives that is able to go on and pen some of the greatest works of literature.

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Guest Post by LoveReading - Helping you to find your next book.


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