You’ve worked hard for months, maybe even years, on your first book. You’ve dreamed of the day you can finally say, “I’m a published author”, and it’s finally here. You had the launch party, your friends and family have congratulated you. You’ve finally made it, your dream has come true.
So now what?
Preparing for that day, which I experienced in October 2016, I tried to imagine what I would do, how it would feel. I asked other authors, I read blog posts and craft books. Most of them said it’s a wonderful thing, and some of them warned that it was just the beginning of even more work and additional challenges. I understood, and was ready and willing to take it on and do the work. But there was something no one told me about. Or, maybe they did, but in my push to get published, I dismissed it.
I’m talking about The Let Down. The Post-Publication Blues. I’ve got it, and I didn’t see it coming.
Now, I’m a practical sort of person. I had no dreams of grandeur, I didn’t expect to be a best seller or even a good seller out of the gate. I’m a business person, an entrepreneur, so I know I’m selling a product and it will take time to find buyers (readers). I’m not feeling down due to lack of sales or recognition. With time, and perseverance, (and spending money on marketing) it can improve.
It’s just…I accomplished what I set out to, and now I have this sense of loss. It’s purely emotional, and not what I expected to feel at this point in my career. How I went from hopeful enthusiasm to…a general lack of enthusiasm in such a short time is beyond me. I love my stories, I believe they are worth reading. I haven’t had many reviews yet, but so far they have all been positive. My negative feelings have nothing to do with the work I have published to date. It’s more to do with expectations and realities, and the emotions that go along with them.
So Back to Work…Right?
Being practical, I knew the best thing I could do right now, besides promoting my newly published series (Higher Elevation, Books 1-3), is to keep writing. I had several projects on the back burner while the Higher Elevation Series was being published, so all I had to do was pick up where I left off. I needed to get the pipeline going again. But that proved easier said than done, and I found my post-publication blues were effecting my ability to write. I’d get going and then I’d stall. I found myself procrastinating, which I rarely did before. Used to be I couldn’t wait to do something, anything writing-related.
It didn’t help that I’d spent the better part of this year editing, rewriting, and all the other business that comes with Indie publication. My creative muse had been exiled, and when I asked her to get back to work, she had less enthusiasm than I did. Clearly, something has gone wrong.
One thing I know I won’t do, is give up. Writing is like breathing to me, so I will keep going, even if the muse stays in exile. And I know negative emotions are usually temporary. But any advice or tips from other writers are welcome. I doubt I am the only one to ever go through this!
Do I just need time off from writing? Or should I push myself and hope it will work itself out? Have any authors out there experienced a sense of disappointment or loss, even after achieving success? How have you worked through it?