Tuesday, December 2, 2014

41 6 Tips for Beating Post Partum Book Depression and the Depressing News Around Us (Plus a LAILAH Giveaway)

I've heard other authors talk about it, but I never thought about it seriously as something that would happen to me. PPD. Post Partum Depression. I didn't have it with either of my kids, although I've seen how debilitating it can be. Why would I get it after my debut novel?

Except.

COMPULSION is my baby. I've spent years focused on its conception, inception, growth, and welfare. And now it's out in the world. 

There's very little more I can do for it. I've given it over to the readers, and my publisher has moved on to other books, including my next book, and there's a very real sense of exhaustion and anticlimax. All of that is exacerbated by environmental factors--what seems like a never-ending stream of bad news. The "news" news is bad enough. Ferguson. ISIS. Syria. The constant and seemingly escalating attacks on women around the world. And then there's news on the personal front too with more bad news for my sister, and I feel helpless because there's nothing that I can do to help her. 

My poor pup, Auggie the Wonder Dog, is having surgery this morning, too, for a torn ligament in his knee. I hate--HATE--that he is going through pain. Again, I feel helpless.


Helplessness. That's the common denominator. I don't DO helpless. I like control.

We writers are masters of our universes. We create whole worlds, surely we should be able to do something to improve what goes on around real world, no? 

Emphatically, in this instance, NO.

But since I like to write my way out of things, I've researched some ways to help myself feel better. Maybe they can help you, too, if you've got the holiday or writing blahs.

1.  Eating My Way Out of It. I'm eating Nutella and virtually everything chocolate, because 'tis the season. That produces dopamine, which can improve my mood, help my concentration, increase productivity, and make me feel generally less UGH. (Yes, that's a technical term.) But chocolate isn't necessarily the best source of dopamine. If you're feeling blue or scattered and you want to survive the holiday season in the same size pants you started in, try apples, almonds, bananas, eggs, strawberries, and pumpkin seeds. They all offer dopamine boosts as well.

2. Walking It Off. There's something to be said for this--exercise also produces dopamine, and helps to alleviate the guilt of all that chocolate. But it also gives me the time to think and focus on creating a new project.

3. Starting That New Project. There's joy and hope in creation.  Putting myself back into the illusion of control by becoming the master of my fictional universe again is definitely part of my prescription.

4. Resetting Muscle Memory. Healthy eating, exercise, and immersing myself into a new project all require time, and time is at an increasing premium right now. The launch disrupted my "normal" routine, so it's time to redefine what's normal. I'm putting myself on a stricter schedule. Social media and marketing first thing. Writing in the morning/editing in the afternoon and evening. I'm also forcing myself to leave time to read for pleasure, because that keeps me sane and keeps me growing as a writer.

5. Focusing on the Stars. My son has ADHD, but medication didn't work for him. To help him overcome his disruptive behavior at school, we kept a sticker journal. I made a list of everything that needed to be done that day, from brushing his teeth, to doing his homework, to remembering to say please and thank you. By including some easy goals every day, I built in a little bit of success, and I'm doing the same thing for myself by making my goals manageable. Instead of saying that I'm going to write 2000 words or review copyedits for ten chapters every day, I'm focusing on writing a paragraph, and editing a manageable amount of pages. Starting small. : ) 

6. Keeping a Gratitude Jar. I started putting good news and kind things people said into a jar last year so that I could pull them out when I was focusing on the not so good news. But I'm starting a new tradition now and focusing on kindness and gratitude. Not what has someone said, but what has someone done--not necessarily for me, for others, for the world in general. What *can* I be grateful for? Science suggests that focusing on that literally retrains the brain to see the positive.  

What about YOU? What techniques do you use to cope?

Please leave a comment below and share!

Some Good Things to Start Us Off

Just for Writers

Just For Fun


    Know What Else is Fun? LAILAH by Nikki Kelly!

    Who knew there was an original take on vampires left anywhere? Or angels! I loved this book.

    Are you team Jonah? Or team Gabriel?

    Don't know yet? Okay. How about a giveaway? : )

    WIN LAILAH, PLUS LAILAH SWAG, and a COMPULSION SWAG PACK



    Lailah
    by Nikki Kelly
    Hardcover
    Feiwel & Friends
    Released 10/7/2014

    Over one million Wattpad readers have made Lailah a sensation!

    The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

    On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely Allie – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

    In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

    Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

    Purchase Lailah at Amazon
    Purchase Lailah at IndieBound
    View Lailah on Goodreads

    And here's some additional great LAILAH swag!


    Plus some COMPULSION swag!


    Enter below. : )

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    41 comments:

    1. Awesome advice and links!

      Hope his surgery goes awesomely well!!

      thank you so very much :)

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      1. He got a reprieve this morning! We're going to try stem cell therapy first. It's a good thing we love this boy, because it's going to cost the same as a new car to get him comfortable again! Thanks for the good wishes!

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    2. What a wonderful post. I would absolutely feel the same way. I hope everything goes well!!!

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    3. Aw, Martina, I'm so sorry your doggie is in pain. Our pets are our family, so it's tough when they're hurting. As for your list, I absolutely LOVE the gratitude jar! When I send my boys off to school each morning, we give thanks for all our blessings. Even in difficult times, heck, especially in difficult times, it's wonderful to be thankful.

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      1. That's a wonderful tradition! We always did something similar at the dinner table -- I'd ask the kids to tell me three good things that happened that day. It keeps things in perspective!

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    4. Love the advice!!!! It gets easier with the second book. You have a different expectation the second time.

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      1. Good to know! But the poor second book is like a second child, too. Much as I love Persuasion, it never had my single-minded attention the way that Compulsion did!

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    5. Hope your pup heals well!!
      Moving on to the next thing can be tough - but you've got a ton of great strategies here to help. You'll be great!

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    6. No need to enter me in this giveaway, but just stopping in to say I enjoyed your blog today. I'm in between drafts right now and taking time to do some character development work. Not getting "real" writing done--but hoping this will pay off later. that's how I'm keeping myself going right now!

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      1. Your writing is so amazing, Carol, I can't imagine what you have left to do -- but I'm glad you're taking it as slowly as you feel you need to. And character development work ALWAYS pays off, I think. Sending you a big hug and encouragement vibes!

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    7. Martina, I feel for you :( The worst is when we can't control bad things that involve health and pain for loved ones---or ourselves, that's for sure. My coping method has ALways been gratefulness. As bad as things can get, there are very important things we should be grateful for every day. Sometimes it pulls me up quickly, but as times get harder and worse, it can take longer. Of course, really good music helps, too :) And I could not do without my faith in God. There are some burdens we mortals simply can't handle on our own.

      Ultimately, what helps me the most (due to experience and witnessing it happen) is realizing that although I try to control the moment, God has control in the long run and I'm in good hands :)

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      1. Great reminder, thanks! <3 It's not so much that things aren't great for me--believe me, I know how amazingly lucky I am, and I'm grateful for it--but there are so, so many people (and dogs!) in my life who aren't as lucky. I really need a magic wand. : (

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    8. Yeah, that feeling of not having control over the things in your life - even the things beyond your realm - can be bothersome. It would be so easy to just snap a finger or press the Easy button to fix the various issues around us quickly, but such is not life.

      You've listed some wonderful ways to deal with the aftermath of pushing a book out into the world and grappling with the things that we dont' have full control of.

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      1. Easy button! Yep. That's exactly what we need to fix the world, Angela! Hugs for that one!

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    9. Best of luck and a speedy recover to you furbaby! Thanks for sharing such an insightful post!

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      1. Thanks, Erin! I hope the post helps someone -- that will make me feel better! I do actually feel better now that we have something that might help Auggie. They say the stem cell therapy has about a 75% chance of making him better. I like those odds! Fingers crossed!

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    10. Can't wait to read Lailah and Persuasion. So excited that you've already announced a sequel. As for PPD after a book, that's a concept I've never thought of before! But it makes a lot of sense. I imagine that the publishing world is very fast paced and I know that you guys are planning books years in advance of their publication, so I get that you'd already be working on other projects when Compulsion came out. So crazy! My advice is to eat lots of Cold Stone ice cream and read, read, read. That always works for me. Thanks for another great giveaway Martina! :)

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      1. I hope you'll love them both, Sierra! Yep, the way that publishing works, Persuasion had already gone to copyedit before Compulsion released. I'm currently working on Book Three and a super-sekrit project, plus reviewing the copyedits. It's a little crazy when you think about how it all works, but I am actually on a very light schedule compared to some writers. Jen Armentrout published NINE books this year. I can't even . . .

        Your ice cream and reading solution works for me!

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    11. GAH, helplessness. I hope I can someday accept having a lack of control over certain things. Also, I loved the way you discussed post partum depression and ADHD. I want to train in treating those disorders and think it's amazing that you keep a journal for your son. Thanks for also sharing healthy ways to get that dopamine surge (although I do tend to rely on chocolate....)

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      1. It's great that you want to help treat ADHD and other issues like it. The journal really did help. Basically, I'm a big believer in bribery :D

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    12. Very helpful post. I hope your dog feels better!

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    13. I loved the idea of post partum depression after a book. I have a friend who is a writer that totally understood that. Also, when I tweeted with the link above, it said win Maggie Stiefvater books, but I thought this was for Lailah?

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      1. Fixed that tweet. THANK you for catching it. : ) XO

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    14. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

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    15. Great post! Also, thanks for the great giveaway!

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    16. Great post, my darling friend. You nailed it in spades. Um, haven't time to replenish my bananas in the house due to this UGH deadline (to use your word, LOL!) so I use the drink of choice: Dr Pepper. Regular with ALL the calories.

      Okay, back to this grinding, detailed work of 3 pages an hour revising and cutting. Sometimes 1 page an hour. I dislike revisions because it makes me dislike my own words. In good news I've cut 6,000 words! Still another4,000-ish to go to get it down to what my editor wants. *mewling*

      Craving chocolate chip cookies in spades. But no time!

      Will call end of the week to catch up with you! XO

      P.S. So sorry to hear about Auggie. Sending hugs all around!

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      1. Sending you hugs and positive editing vibes! I'm so, so sorry sweetie! Hang in there -- can't wait to catch up! You know I'm leaving Saturday, right?

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    17. I hope your dog gets better!

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    18. I really wish that your dog gets better, and I think you had a good post~ Oh, and of course, thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!!

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    19. Thank you for always having such great giveaways!!

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    20. I hope your dog's okay. Thanks for listing this giveaway

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    21. Thanks for the giveaway, can't wait to read your book! :)

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    22. Hugs to you for your book postpartum as well as your Auggie's surgery. I saw the latter on FB too but haven't heard the results; hope that went well. I've been crazy busy doing my own revisions finally. I am SO excited, because once I finish my revision I am letting it sit for a couple of days--and rewarding myself by reading COMPULSION in the interim. Your book is sitting on my shelf, waiting....!

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    Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)