Getting a novel published is an adrenalin rush, no doubt about it. The months leading up to the launch are filled with anticipation. Are people going to like it? Will I be praised? Discredited? Admired? Shamed? It’s very similar to the opening night of a show. There are lots of differences, of course. In my case, I invest a lot more time into a novel than I do a show. A novel takes me roughly two years. A show, if I’m directing, takes me roughly ten to twelve weeks; if I’m acting, even less. Either way, the build up is intense. And where there is a build up, there is, inevitably, a let down.
Theater people talk about it all the time; they call it “post-show depression.” Some actors are so terrified of feeling it they hop from audition to audition, show to show, hoping to stay forever aloft in that wonderfully twinkly place of recognition. But I never hear writers talk about it, although surely it’s not all that different. I know I feel it, a sort of deflation and the big shebang.
I’m acquainted with several writers who put out two books a year—or more. Much like adrenaline-junkie actors, they hop from one high to the next. It must be nice to live in that land of never-ending forthcoming books. (Who was it who said every writer’s favorite words are “My forthcoming book…”?) And if I were a faster writer, I would hop a ride on that trolley in an instant. Alas, I am not that writer. I can futz with a single sentence for eons. And I do.
I’m wondering: any other writers experience this? If so, do tell.