Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Novel-writing Postpartum

So I've revised and rewritten and polished and edited and re-read and tweaked and now I believe my novel is done and ready to be read in full by everyone who matters. Now what? My head says, "Take a little break. Then start on the next one." I know that's my plan. But taking a break from this one is hard. I don't feel like I've let go. I don't feel ready to let go. Am I really planning on sending my characters out into the universe on their own now?

I wonder if completing a novel is like giving birth or is it more like grieving? Maybe it's both. Right now, I think I am experiencing some level of shock or denial. It doesn't entirely feel real. I'm not sure what to do with myself. I want to revisit it and at the same time I don't want to look at it or think about it.

Someone may ask me to go back to it, and when they do, I think I will take it up again gladly, with a sense of purpose. But, for now, the crazy push to finish has ended. I must fill not only my time but my brain with other endeavors.


  1. I've felt that way with every single novel I've completed. Both the giving birth and post-partum. Each novel takes so much time, care, and attention. When you turn away from it when done, it is a form of loss. But I feel a difference with books now selling and getting published. They no longer feel like stillborn experiences but real births to new life. It has a different feel.

  2. Thank you for the comment. It always helps to hear what other folks have experienced.

    BTW, I love your website! Cool look!

  3. I finished my novel on the 2nd of August, after about six weeks of intense work. Now, I'm staring at the walls in a sort of stunned state, my brain turned to mush. It's very inconvenient because I work as an academic and the school year's starting. I need to be able to think.

    I would agree that the best palliative has always been a fresh project. I hope like hell it doesn't have to be a project of equal magnitude.

    BTW, I got here by googling 'novel-writing postpartum.' Among the blogs you follow is this one:

    Since my novel has me feeling guilty in the postpartum phase for covering the topic of nascent sexuality in some detail (my protagonist is a young music student), I enjoyed the synchronicity of the double whammy: both postpartum AND the sex that caused (all of) this trouble.


  4. Ken - Congratulations on finishing your novel! That's huge! I hope you celebrated somehow, or at least acknowledged it with some sort of rite of passage. In my critique group, we get cupcakes whenever one of us gets to the end of a draft.

    Your serendipitous link between novel postpartum and writing about sex made me laugh out loud. Thanks for commenting.


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