Maybe this is a foolish question, but do any of you experience hangovers from stories you write? Or especially a novel?

I finished the submission draft of my second book and got it off to the publisher this weekend. It is, admittedly, a dark book. The parts I spent a lot of time revising were the darker parts. The new scenes I added were, on balance, dark scenes.

So when I finished, I had a huge emotional hangover...lasted a couple of days at a pretty intense level. It has dissipated over the course of the week to the point where it is more of a lingering emotion now and not nearly as intense.

Still, this isn't the first time this has happened. If the story or novel is an emotional one, it happens every time (and to show how goofy I am, I'm surprised by how intensely each time).

Anyway, my question is, how strange am I on this count?

Yeah, yeah. Take your shots...but then, please, answer the question.

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LOL! I have a friend who calls that emotional hangover 'postpartum blues' because the act of writing and completing a story is an awful lot like gestating and birthing a baby.

And yeah, I get that. It's real hard to leave somewhere you've invested that much time and energy in.
You are not strange at all, in my experience. Every writer I know goes through some kind of depression or hangover--something--when we send our "children" off into the world. Best antidote for me is to start something else.
Despite what anyone tells you, you're still strange. And I mean that with the utmost respect.

Hell, we're all strange, in our own ways. I find that I drag my feet when I get toward the end of a project, not wanting the story to end. I do the same thing when I'm reading a book I really like too--savoring the pages.

When I finished writing my debut book (I had written it in 6 wks while recovering from surgery), I was working all sorts of crazy hours and on a HUGGEEE high. And no, it wasn't the drugs. There's a crazed adrenaline that runs thru me when all cylinders are pumping and the juices are flowing, but it's not a downer for me. I am completely jazzed. And there's no better drug than writing THE END to the last page.
I don't think you're strange. I definitely experience a let down when I get through a chunk of writing. Sometimes it's a scene, sometimes it's an entire story. I get so absorbed in the writing that coming out of it can really throw me for a whack.

It may be at least part of why writers return to familiar characters and locations. We create a world and want to re-enter it, same as readers of series. Just the other side of the coin.
You're very strange, Frank :-)

I have the same thing going on now; just finished a YA novel and sent it off. For the most part, it's just very weird not to have a Big Project that's consuming my every waking thought. I'm thinking of the next novel, but I'm still exhausted from this last one.
I think good writing takes some mental and emotional commitment, so feeling a little hungover is part of the process.

Me, I clean the house. Let's face it, after all that writing, it needs it...
It's the writer's curse. You're pumped up and dying to get to the end of the project, then when you've finished you immediately get depressed. I've experienced it, and other friends of mine who write have described the same thing.
I get drunk, Frank. Ha---actually, I get scotched. But, I really have a hard time letting go...I can do better, perhaps one more re-write...?
You're not strange.

The darkness in a writer who produces a dark novel shouldn't be expected to clear up once the story's over. It's not as if we can totally compartmentalize our creative sides from our life. Even if you're not a broody, bad person normally, you've lived with broody, bad characters (in my case, doing awful things), and it's not like it just be exorcised.

I've never had that experience, but then again I'm only on my second book. Usually when I feel like you describe, I try to write something completely opposite; a short story or something with a very different tone to it. I find that helps me get back on track emotionally.

Just my thoughts. - db


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