Independent Writing from an Independent Mind

Open discussion about writing and reading

Do you have withdrawals after finishing a book?

Today I got a bit of food for thought from some other writers that has had me wondering all morning.  Earlier I was reading a thread on Fluther from authors / writers who were answering the posed question:

Do you have withdrawals after finishing a book?

Why do so many authors get withdrawal symptoms after finishing their book projects?

Why do so many authors get withdrawal symptoms after finishing their book projects?

I have to tell you I was a bit amazed at the responses.  Nearly thirty different authors answered this question and virtually all of them reported some degree of withdrawals.  Although one of them remarked that it depended upon which book, none of the participating authors answered in the negative.  Even some of the authors claimed major withdrawals after finishing writing their book! This to me is quite intriguing due to the fact that I had a totally different feeling altogether, albeit a mixed emotion.  (Or maybe it was two feelings that intertwined?)

Let’s put it this way…

On the one hand I felt a great sense of accomplishment, completion and pride.  On the other hand I felt a bit incomplete because there was always something more that could be added to the book or changed in the book.  (Maybe this second feeling was similar to what these other authors were feeling?)

To me when someone says they are having withdrawals I have an imagine in my mind of a melancholy feeling of unfulfillment – sort of like being denied something that was within my reach before.  Again, I cannot report this on any of my writing projects.  I like to think of writers giving something to the world like a carpenter or master builder does.  So where does this “unfulfillment” that other writers appear to have come from?  Is it self doubt?  Can we equate the creative process to the high of taking drugs or drinking alcohol?  And why if so many other authors seem to get it am I seemingly immune to this?

When I think about the process logically one could equate it to the post partum depression that women have after giving birth, but again, not all women report this state.  So I guess my blog post today is more of a question that fascinates me.  Do you authors out there who have successfully completed a book get withdrawals?  What do you experience?  How long does the withdrawal stick around?  If you experience other emotive states than withdrawal what do you experience?

3 responses to “Do you have withdrawals after finishing a book?

  1. Alex cottle December 25, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I have just finished reading a book called Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. After it I felt extremely sad. And a very wierd sense of loss. It also makes me feel as if I have lost apart of a purpose to life. Only 2 books have ever made me feel this way. And I am quite puzzled. Curious and scared about why this is.

  2. Saul July 9, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Writing… Not reading. I can definitely relate; my computer died and I have been having dreams of typing like dreams of using when one goes sober, and my fingers get twitchy as I crave the feeling of the keys clicking away. Major withdrawl.

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