Depression After Creation.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to post today.  You see, I finished something this morning – a creative work.  I’ve spent the last 1 1/2 to 2 weeks working on it.  Before I even began writing the piece, I spent a great deal of time thinking about it and planning it.  Quite more than I normally do.  So, when I finished it this morning, I felt good.  For a moment.  Then bad.  And now worse.




You should feel good after creating something, right?


There should be a sense of accomplishment and a pat on the back and then you should move on to something else.


The sense of accomplishment that happened this morning was fleeing at best.  What was more prevalent, I can now say with certainty, was the light depression that followed.


The saddest blob in the world


I think that’s because of what happens next…


After writing my piece, I sent it out to a few trusted friends.  They are two of my regular readers.  They are experienced and knowledgeable in the field.  Suffice it to say, I trust their opinions.  They have read things for me in the past.  I am grateful and amazed and honored that anyone will read anything of mine at all.  It’s not that I don’t think I’m “worth” being read.  It’s more that I value my friends’ time and I’m honored that they spend a little bit of it on me.  That being said, criticism is what will follow.  In essence, criticism is what I’m asking for.  A balanced critique is also ALWAYS the thing that makes my projects better.  My drafts always improve after receiving my reader’s feedback.  Then why is criticism so hard to take?


The Lull.
For this particular project, I really tossed around the idea.  I read something from an author recently where he said, “I really stop myself from writing when I come up with an idea.  I make sure I turn it around from every angle.  I make sure I really know what’s happening in my story, for a long while.  Even if it means I have to tape my hands down.    Once I really KNOW, then I write.”  That’s what I tried to do this time.  So, it was a lot of pre-prep work and then writing in a sort of fury once I had it all worked out in my mind.  The trouble is that no one will have the same urgency to read it, that you did to write it.  So, you have to wait.  Naturally, you gratefully wait and a creeping depression fills the hole.


What if it’s not good?  That’s the number one thought that seeps in right now.  What if other people hate it?  For me, there’s this sublime moment where I’ve completed a story and I’ve read it and re-read it through several times.  At that point, only one thing is assured – I kind of like it.  There may be holes.  Perhaps, it could be funnier, but for this moment in time – I like it.  For this moment in time, I figured out the puzzle that is writing story.  I will continue to like it, until someone doesn’t and then I’ll question it.  Fun.


They are the necessary evil.  However, I find them endlessly painful.  When you write the first draft, it feels like you’ve pushed out a baby.  Then your friends and readers come back with notes and it’s your turn.  At that moment, it feels like you’ve been handed back your baby and now you’re forced to put it back inside you and give birth to it all over again.  Except this time you have stitches criss-crossing all of your painful lady bits.  Are you feckin’ kidding me?  Why can’t it just come out as a feckin’ finished Academy Award winner?!!  I need an epidural.


I suppose I’ve got a case of the post-partums.  I’m wondering, does this happen to most writers or am I just nutty?  Well, I am nutty, but tell me I’m not anyway.


Much love,


Sweet Mother


Oh, and now, please enjoy my favorite depression commercial.  For some reason, it makes me happy…




Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  If you’d like to follow this blob, I mean blog, you can do so by clicking “follow” above.



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See Zoloft Link above


48 thoughts on “Depression After Creation.

  1. Mom, you are nutty, but not alone. I am in a writing group, and despite the fact that I trust the group completely, despite the fact that I KNOW they are all very gifted editors and always have my back, despite all of that and more, I feel sick when I am sitting there waiting for their feedback. We send out our work the week before a meeting, so everyone has a full week to read (2-3x at least) a piece, and then provide edits. When we get together, we get those edits face to face. Ugh! I sweat. My stomach flutters. I hate it! Feedback is tough. I am so grateful that I have a group of readers/writers who take the time with my work and tell me frankly but kindly if it’s shite, but the process is awful. We call edits, or cuts: killing your babies. ;-)

    I’m in the midst of NaNoWriMo and so grateful that it’s meant to be edit free for 30 days. It’s hard to resist but freeing as well. I thought you were doing it too? If so, how’s it going? I’m way ahead on words, but I imagine I’ll need that cushion later. Smile Mom… Don’t let this bring you down. You’ll be fine…

    1. feedback sucks. it just sucks. it’s a necessary sucky, but it sucks. i would prefer nobody say anything other than, ‘YOU ARE FECKIN’ AMAZING,’ but sadly, that’s not how it works. sigh. i’m not sure it ever gets easier either. yep, plugging along on the nano. it’s sort of like my self imposed sweet mother project, ’cause i write this f’en thing everyday too. i’m not sure i’m getting the same thing out of it that everyone else does. wah! thanks for the commentary tho, tales, it really did help. momma loves you. xo, sm

      1. I posted 4,371 words yesterday and 3,777 today on NNWM. In addition, I posted a 1750 word blog post today as well! My head is spinning and it’s time to go out and have a drink. Much earned.

        Let it go Mom. Really. If this is to be your career path, and it looks that way, you need to find balance and learn to let it go. For the record: Do as I say, not as I do! xox ;-)

  2. You are a nut, but I think every writer goes through this. It’s exciting, and scary and depressing as hell. And yet, at the next chance we get, we do it all over again. :-)

    1. i know it’s like masochistic. ’cause i know i’ll do it again. i know i’m a nutbag. but, today i was a zoloft ball. feckin’ project. i should punch it in the nads. sigh. xo

  3. I think what you describe is common to creatives. You are inspired, you create, you put it out there, you wait. I have been a designer for 25 years and still get that same down after I finish and wait for the other shoe to fall. I know my work is technically good, I know why I made the choices I did, but now I wait to see if someone else “gets it”.

    FWIW – I think creatives are braver than most. We have to put it out there knowing that it may flop or soar. We succeed because others “get it”

      1. I need to get about 500 more words out tonight – I have an art show in the morning. I am mounting photos and typing between batches – not the best way to concentrate. My hope is that in the quiet Sunday I can get another anecdote out. I posted my first day – not being a writer it was scary to put it out there, but I know that my writing will improve over the course of the month so I’m going with it. I need to remember that it is about the process and not the number.

  4. Every writer out there experiences this. And once we get that feedback, it’s normal to sulk a bit. But inevitably this passes and is mercifully replaced by determination to make it better. And then when you’re done, you’ll look back and think, “Yeah, some of those suggestions were spot on.” Others won’t be, and you’ll realize your way was better after all. At least I would think most writers go through this. If not, I’d love to know their secret. Good luck!

    1. Yay, my ‘like’ button on your site is working again (before I had to go out and like it through my reader). I figured if I waited long enough it would sort itself out. And it did. :)

  5. My questions, “Is this just part of the process every time?” “At the very end when all rewrites etc are done; do you then feel a joyous bounding happiness?” “Does that joy ever come?”
    Why do I ask? I HATE sewing. Problem is I’m really good at it and studied fashion and all that, made clothes, costumes, sets, you name it but the process of sewing makes me want to stab people. Once it’s done though and i have a finished product I love it and feel tremendous.
    Hate sewing, LOVE having sewn.
    Is this you but yours is on a smaller scale?
    Portia xx

    1. “hate sewing, love having sewn.” yes, that is it. “hate writing, love having written,” which i think it actually a famous quote by a famous writer. don’t know why, but i’m having my norma desmond moment today and just lying about simply because i finished a piece. it’s so stupid, really. ugh. xo

  6. Love the post. (Take that, “Like” button)

    We’ve had different experiances, I see. For me, the hardest part is writing the first draft. I am a huge procrastinator. The crits are easy because I send my work to a website called Critique Circle. ( As for the re-writes, I’ve been having fun with mine.

    1. i think critique circle might freak me out. because no one can be worse than anonymous internet jerks. something i’ve learned from being a comedian who shows stuff online. but, maybe that circle is really giving and compassionate. i don’t know. however, for me, i’m really careful about who i give my work to. i wasn’t in the past and it was a nightmare! much love, sm

  7. Ah, bloody hell. HUGS!!!!!! You’re not alone Mum. Believe me. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

    We all feel the same. While we’re writing, furiously telling ourselves this amazing story, it seems like the best story every written… because half of it is still in our heads. The bit that ends up on a piece of paper, or on the screen is just the bit that we’ve managed to translate into words. More or less. Then we discover the hard truth that other people, even people who love us, can’t see the glory that is locked up in our heads. All they see are those lonely words we’ve given birth to. And half the time it’s an ugly damn baby…

    I hate showing people a work in progress because even the nice comments tend to burst my bubble. Showing people a finished piece, that’s been polished and polished and polished, is even worse because most of the time it’s /still/ an ugly damn baby and the bubble makes more of a mess when it bursts.

    The worst thing however must be when we’ve survived multiple rebirths and actually published the thing. What happens if it’s still an ugly baby and no one wants to read it?

    When that time comes for both of us, may I suggest we buy some Zoloft… in bulk? It’ll be cheaper that way. Maybe we could get a group discount?

    1. “it’s an ugly damn baby.” ohhhh, meeks, how this made me laugh. it really and truly did. they can be so unsightly sometimes, now can’t they? loool. and yeeeesssss zoloft in bulk. wifesy was the first person to read the project – of course – and she even likes it. and still, i’m a mess. it’s so silly, really. time to move on no doubt. ugh. xo

      1. My advice? Start something on nano to take your mind off it. Sometimes just doing something completely different is a great way of refreshing yourself. :)

  8. well from someone who has given birth…NOTHING is like pushing a baby back in, trust me!
    Now my two cents…great art was never appreciated in its time. And no matter what you write or what you paint…art is personal and someone can always (of course) red pen a finished product…its from their perspective. I’m sure happy many great artist fought against their critics…we wouldn’t have any great art from 1880 to 1945

    1. so well said, ask. so well said. i suppose i just have to wait until my demise and it will all work itself out… loooool. i’m kidding. i totally get what you’re saying. the anxiety is a moot point. that doesn’t make it stop tho! ;0 sm

  9. I handle criticism very well, like when I read a blog post to my husband before publishing and he says “I don’t get it” so I launch my laptop at his head.

    1. ugh, i’m so with you, nic. i’m just a blog right now. seriously. i know i’ll shake it. may have to take a day or two off or something cause my mind is like go f yourself. it’s so weird. and annoying. xo

  10. That bluebird of happiness is just annoying! I had no idea its name was Zoloft.
    Of course the sad little blob is adorable.

  11. The feeling of depression that comes after accomplishment is pretty normal. So much goes into prepping and planning and thinking and wondering that so much emotion is tied into a result. Once the result is achieved we are stunned, elated, pleased and…. worried. We cannot sustain this momentum so our feelings start to spill over the other edge of the slippery slope and head downhill.

  12. I can relate. It’s difficult bringing a project to completion, and once it’s complete, you have nothing to occupy your mind with except what’s possibly wrong with your project, worry about whether it will be well received, wonder if the critique you get is worth receiving. The time is ripe for a new idea!

  13. Well, if those feelings make you nutty, then so am I. ‘Cause I know exactly how you feel. I’m still slogging through my readers’ recent comments on Draft 3 and figuring out which are dead-on and I need to address in Draft 4 and which I can let pass.

    When comments come in, I go through a couple of days of “Why am I bothering? Look at these comments. What made me think this was any good?” But then I come out of it and think about how I can incorporate their ideas and make the next draft better.

    Does it ever get easier? I can only hope. But I highly doubt it! :)

    1. it’s a two day depression. i don’t know. it’s so weird. wifesy read it today, so i’ll see what she says. her initial comment was, ‘i really like it’ and still i know there will be notes. i also feel VERY ‘why do i bother’ today and yesterday. what a funk. i’ll bounce back. i bounce quicker than most. it’s probably all this padding. ;0 but, seriously, i’m not sure it ever gets any better. maybe if you’re stephen king. sigh. and hey – congrats on the 1 year!! xo

  14. Great post. I know exactly how you feel – it’s hard not to be depressed after putting something out because you invested so much time and energy into creating it and once it’s done it’s hard to pick back up and direct that energy elsewhere.

  15. I totally get where you’re coming from! I don’t usually get depressed after creative work, but I do get depressed once a show I’ve really enjoyed working on wraps, and after I return from a trip. For me the depression is not born out of a self doubt or anxious period, but just my imagination suffering a major let down now that it’s work is temporarily over.

  16. Ah yes. Tristesse de keyboard. Natalie Goldberg says some good things about this in Writing Down the Bones. I often think if we just didn’t use the word “criticism” we might get off on a…paw. Carry on SM! We’re all mood swinging out here, too. Wheeeeee….!!!

  17. love the ad…i was like hey i have symptom number 1 and 2 and 3 ;) and so on..

    Sweet Mom…i rem i was writing this story long back…had it all in my mind..back then i was its a master piece (nah it wasnt)…and one fine day i lost the whole story…had no backup…i was super shocked that was the first time writing gave me depression..couldnt write after that for long..
    Now NaNo is making me happy about writing ….
    Im a born depressed writing makes me smile…

  18. I don’t mind the second draft. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. Usually. The notes that pain me are the ones that suggest a writing deficiency…you know a problem that doesn’t lie in the story or piece but in your writing style or ability. That’s where I am currently with the last project I worked on and now it’s gathering dust because I have to decide if I’m going to become a different kind of writer or just stick with what I’ve got. Do I want to be Joyce Carol Oates or John Grisham? Is it even possible for me to be Joyce? So depressing.

    1. oh, it ain’t easy, i know. i need to second third and fourth draft the project i was talking about here… waiting on some feedback tho, sigh. and stay strong. it’s the doing that makes us great, right, right? someone said that. oprah? xo, sm

  19. One of my favorite depression commercials too. I loved that they called the neuron part a “dramatization.” Thanks for clarifying that my brain is not actually a streaming cartoon, because all this time, I thought it was.

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