No one ever told me that finishing my book would be so depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that it’s out there for the world to read and it feels like it was an event that my entire life was leading up to, so to finish it is very satisfying. But now that it’s over, I feel like I’m grieving. Though, to be fair, I am grieving. My grandmother passed away in May and my health has taken a sharp decline since then. I have a hope of seeing her again, so that gets me through the day, but I’m struggling to find how to move on after publishing A Regrettable Likeness.
No character in that book was a mirror image of myself. Even the one that I would say has the most parallels to myself is glaringly different from me in some key ways. So it’s not really like lost a part of myself. The feeling I get, and bare with me here because this is going to sound insane, is I feel like an empty nester. Now, I’m not a parent and I know that “book children” are very very very different from living children, but it’s the best comparison I can make at the moment. My babies are all grown up and they don’t need me any more (until I’m ready to write the sequel). I don’t have the project that for two-ish years I nurtured and fretted about and complained about. I suppose it’s not really Empty Nest Syndrome as much as it is Empty… Document Syndrome? So how does one deal with Empty Document Syndrome?
Well, sorry, y’all, but I’m still figuring that out. But I have a theory. I’ve looked up how people deal with Empty Nest Syndrome and I think the principles transfer. So based of the Mayo Clinic’s advice, here is my theory:
- Accept the timing: In this case, accept that it will take a while for a newly published (especially an independently published book) to gain traction in the market. Also, accept that developing your next book may take longer than you think.
- Keep in touch: So you can’t “talk” to your book characters, but you can help your book babies to spread their wings and fly! Work on promoting them on social media, look into alternative publishers and new markets, and make some art of your characters. (In my case, I made all my main characters as Sims. I’m debating whether to upload them to the gallery or not.) Even reading your book, especially once it’s out on paperback, can bring a sense of satisfaction and closure. After all, you’re supposed to write the book that you always wanted to read.
- Seek support: Writers aren’t always “talkers.” Coping might be best done by writing out your feelings on the matter. (For me, I’m using the blog.)
- Stay positive: Now that one book is finished, you get to start fresh on a new one! You get to do all the fun, first drafting parts that you forgot that you loved so much during the months and months of revisions.
So, that’s how I plan to move on from my book child growing up. Now if only I could settle on my next book…