Sometimes it’s challenging to tell your story in just a few short words – but Our Gentle Sins is the journey of two souls who are recovering from past mistakes. Aren’t we all?
Have you heard of Postpartum publication syndrome? It appears to be a real thing for many writers.
Many of us have heard of or referred to our “babies” when writing. The act of creation – creating – we are bringing something new into this world. A good book takes years of hard work, anxiety, and challenges.
Then it’s finished, it’s published, and we have to release it into the world. It is, in some ways, no longer ours. The precious little life we have brought into this world is out, and… well… I know we’re supposed to be excited, ecstatic, but somehow, for some reason, we’re feeling down.
It’s a gain, no doubt, but it’s also a loss. It’s a transition from one phase to another, and the hard work is not done yet. In some ways, it’s beginning again, in another way. We are no longer alone in the dark at a desk, but we got comfortable there. And this change from releasing our darling into the world is harder than we imaged.
Many writers go through a phase of mild depression once their work is published.
I’ve heard many “cures” for this postpartum publication syndrome, which include:
- Start writing something new. (Of course, I feel writing is the best way to cure my blues.)
- Talk to other writers. (It does seem to be a good idea to talk to those with similar experiences.)
- If it doesn’t pass quickly, talk to a professional. (Yes. Good idea. There are a number of types of professionals who deal with writers (there has to be, we are a questionable bunch)
- Absolutely know that you are not alone.
So – look at me – book’s not even released yet! haha. No worries! I’m okay. 🙂
(this post, by no means, insinuates that the very serious topic of postpartum depression new mother’s face can be solved easily or taken lightly)
Thanks to Joe Plummer from Carbon Radio for asking great questions in this author interview!
Head over to Medium.com to read the full interview!
Creativity is a well that must be replenished. Creating a space and time for oneself and one’s growth will keep the well abundant. For me, the replenishment requires an inner focus, quiet spaces around me, lovely views — not necessarily when I’m writing, but before and after. Trips to the local art museum, beach, or the woods will recharge me. When I’m running dry, I know there’s something scratching at the bottom. Some parts of me or my needs I’ve neglected or ignored. I get too distracted by the outside world. There is so much we must do in this modern time and too many easy diversions. My soul counts on the regular activity of writing, it’s like a cleaning out of my mind. It keeps me balanced and happy. Without the regular practice of creativity, the soul cringes and starts to fold over on itself. If it’s been too long, it’ll be a rough restart. Rocks and dirt come first but, if we keep at it, our well fills again and the water becomes clear and plentiful.
Recently someone did something for me. I did not ask, she volunteered. I was apathetic for a few reasons: I didn’t know her very well; when someone does something for us – there are usually invisible strings that will sway our way at some point.
Many of us operate on societal, cultural, and sometimes puritan programming that is mostly unconscious. Expectations seem ingrained in our very being.
What she expected in return was for me to behave a certain way given her grace. When I did not, she claimed to be hurt and upset, frustrated, why had she bothered?
She was entitled to a “Thank you,” which she received. But she was not entitled to control or to judge. She didn’t understand this. She didn’t realize (and denied) she was making judgements based on her own expectations. If her motivation was to “help,” she had accomplished her goal. But, then, why was she upset?
As writers, I think we see things more clearly. Maybe differently. We are observers of human behaviors. If we’re good, we’re looking for motivation.
This person, like our character, didn’t understand her own unconscious motivations and was, therefore, disappointed by the outcome. It is a rare character who can see their own faults, analyze their misguided or unclear motivations before they act. It’s only with reflection, and maybe help from their besties, that our characters grow to understand themselves and their own actions, motivations, and goals.
I’ve been reading and writing novel length works lately. I belong to a few online book groups and people are always posting great reviews of this book or that. Sometimes I pick them up, sometimes I like them. It’s hard for me to find that book that hits the sweet spot – the perfect mix of good writing and a good story.
I love the exceptional use of language. That’s a talent.
In my literature and writing classes, I use Best American Short Stories. I chanced upon an old copy the other day. I read half of the first story and felt engaged, awakened!
Picking up the book of short stories immediately energized me with ideas for short fiction.
The joy of reading a short story happens because they’re tight, no nonsense needed, straight to the point, well written and excellently executed niblets of fiction.
The joy of writing a short story is the challenge. The point, the characters, the setting all expertly set up in concise wording in a small period of time. The use of language is easier to control, the beauty and rhythm easier to accomplish.
I once belonged to a short story group. It was so gratifying to read the short fiction. If you didn’t like what someone chose, you could still read the ten or twenty pages and talk about it. It’s not 300 pages of silently cursing your book group.
So… I’m going to recommend some books of short fiction. Of course, I recommend the Best American Short Story Series. Wonderful writing by newbies and scholars alike!
- They Write.
- They Write some more.
- Then they Write even more.
I stumbled upon an article about writing space that I wanted to share.
I used to write, quite successfully, at my dining room table. I love the early morning light that comes through the window, not too bright until right after lunch – sometimes, I’m still writing and I have to draw the blinds.
From my dining room table, I can also view of what happens in front of my house. It’s minimal distraction. But just distracting enough for when I need to look up from any painfully blank pages. A neighbor walking a dog. A child riding a bike. My neighbor searching through the recycling bin.
I have a cafe style table. Far too big for my little space. A little taller than average. But it works when I get tired of sitting, I can stand.
The chair got hard to sit on. Back pain. Hip pain. The minimal cushion became even more minimal after so many days and hours and years sitting there.
I’ve thought about getting a little table. A table built for two – me and my computer – and set it right near the window – even closer than I am now. But would it be big enough for my tea? my snack? my stack of junk mail?
I changed my writing space to a proper desk. Big. Wooden. Dark. A drawer filled with paper, pens, stapler, and the like – whatever I might need. A nearby printer. A proper chair.
Yet, reading this article, I realized I’m nowhere near as productive as I used to be.
Starting tomorrow – it’s back to my table!
Where do you write?
There are all kinds of tired. Some of which I sleep well, some of which I do not.
Sometimes I’m physically tired. I worked out. I hiked. I did enough manual labor to make my body exhausted. I sleep well on these nights.
There’s mentally tired. My brain wore out from working facts and figures into some sort of rhythmic sense in my world. Sometimes, on these nights, I do not sleep well. I’m disturbed, wondering if it formed into a smooth shape of being.
Then there’s emotionally tired. Dealing with people – angry, upset, unhappy, or even large groups of chaotic masses wear me out. I do not sleep well on these nights. I toss and turn, trying to work out the ugly aura left around me.
But – I never get any of those types of tired from writing. Writing is recharging, recovering, releasing. I let go of the day, the facts and figures, the angry masses, the physical exhaustion, and I’m able to create something that is life giving, soul soothing, and has meaning.
Writing is a way of living free from outside infections.
I didn’t grow up with a lot of positive role models. There were not many (if any) people in our neighborhood who were looked up to as success stories.
I can see my neighbors, even now, from the concrete steps of our four unit blond brick building on S*** Avenue in Collinwood. Across the street, Francis. She had Lucille Ball red hair and sat on her porch from 9am to 9pm, beer in hand. Next door, a single mother who worked at a bar and brought work home with her – in all sorts of ways. Next to her, a retired old man who sat across from Francis with his own beer in hand. His wife, Goldie, was a sweet woman whose toes twisted around one another, feet mangled, she said from twenty years of high heeled waitressing. On the other side, a retired railroad worker, no patio, so he sat in his kitchen hand wrapped around a cold beer.
There were bars on every corner. T & M’s could be seen from the porch. Strangers and neighbors stumbling out with the music pouring onto the street.
The teenagers went to high school, married the boyfriends who beat them, and set up house on the next block. A few got away, I’m sure. But I can list many more who died young or ended up in prison. My teenage crushes are dead now. One was shot in the head, the other crushed under the wheels of a truck. I never got into drugs, thought those who smoked and drank acted silly, stupidly, dangerously. Girlfriends recall tales of waking up half naked, uncertain if anything happened. That wasn’t the memory – or lack of memory – I wanted.
Mostly, I felt limited. I felt outcast. I didn’t seem to belong with any particular crowd or group or gang. I wanted something more, something different, and I didn’t know where to turn. Getting out and getting away seemed the only answer for me. I didn’t know what might meet me beyond the borders of the familiar, but there was no safety and no options in the familiar.
Someone once said – it was very brave of you to travel across country on your own and start over alone. I hadn’t considered it was “brave.” I’d believed it was my only choice, my only chance. She offered, the world is a dangerous place for a young woman to do such a thing. Sometimes home is a dangerous place. Limiting yourself is dangerous. Not fulfilling your potential is dangerous. Living a life in which you’re completely unhappy is dangerous. Sometimes, saving yourself, however scary the unknown is, is your only choice.