Saturday, November 29, 2014

PNDS: Post NaNoWriMo Depression Syndrome

Yeah, I made that up. But, here's the thing, maybe it should be a real thing. Every time I finish a story, particularly for NaNoWriMo, there's this huge surge of euphoric accomplishment. Yay, I did it! Look, I made it!

And then PNDS hits. A void has formed where once the story lived, not just were the story held my attention, but where it lived. The characters, the setting, the trials, now nothing but a vacuum in my heart. I miss them, and I find myself trying to fill that space with other things: trying to read all the books I set aside, writing blog posts (or mostly just looking at a blank page trying to recapture the magic that created an entire novel, and failing), watching movies.  Anything to fill that void.

The effect seems worse after NaNoWriMo, probably because of the tight deadline, the all consuming trial of compressing what normally takes months into just days. The creative abandon, the rush of seeing a story come to life so quickly. So much energy put in, and then it's just gone. The energy is still there, the urge to write, but the story is finished.

It's odd and pervasive. How can finishing a story be such a downer? And really, the only thing I can do about it, the only thing that really works, is to start another. Maybe that's why I have a backlog of drafts that need editing. Editing is great, but it's not the same as writing. It doesn't fill that void.

Luckily, though, the effect seems short lived. The result is another story started or long put off editing kicked into overdrive. I just have to push through a rough week or so after the story wraps while I ask myself, "What now?"

So, I'm curious. How do you feel after finishing a story, or any big project, really? Let me know in the comments.