Feed Your Hypos Well


View on a morning in November

Generally depression is not a problem for me, however, I just finished the edits on a third book and, after reviewing the sales of my last two, the gales of November have come early.  Is writing really worth it?  Low sales, too few reviews, a body none the better from lack of exercise. Last night I announced to my hubby, I was over. Done.  I’d written my last word, blogged my last blog, tweeted my last tweet. Then, to ramp up said depression to a fever pitch, I picked up Moby Dick:

Moby1“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” -Herman Melville

While listening to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early – Gordon Lightfoot

One of my hungry hypos!

It’s not exactly what a shrink would prescribe.  I should be taking a walk on this fine crisp day, making myself a pan of brownies or volunteering to help people who are truly misfortunate instead of selfishly indulging my “hypos.” (love that word, don’t you?  Can’t have sex right now love, my hypos are acting up.)

Hubby just stopped by on his way to the market with this bit of snideness: “I see you’ve really given up writing this time.” The cad.  Just because I’m on the computer doesn’t mean I’m ever going to write again.  I’m not, truly, no way!


When the gales of November come early, what do you feed your hypos?

14 thoughts on “Feed Your Hypos Well

  1. Don’t despair, Jan! You’re in good company as a writer when you say you’ve written your last word. The way I see it–and I’ve heard this from writers much more gifted and experienced than I–is that creativity ebbs and flows. I’m sure you’ve heard that a bunch of times too, but it can be hard to believe when you’re in an ebb.

    As for the sales and reviews, all I can say is yeahhhhhh. I hear you. I really do. But who knows what book #3 will do for your career? I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I may never sell a lot of books, but I also believe that business about having JUST ONE PERSON who thinks you’re great being enough. Because there are days when I feel like quitting, and then I run into someone who says they enjoyed one of my books, and I start thinking about writing again. So I’m here to tell you, Jan, that I think you’re an excellent writer, and I really enjoy your books and your blog. And I’m looking forward to book #3.

    What do I do to feed my “hypos?” Usually, I take the dog for a walk or run. When I get in that mood, the last thing I want to do is go outdoors, but then the dog lets me know that he NEEDS to get out there OR ELSE. And almost every time, I end up feeling better. Something about the fresh air, I guess.

    Here’s hoping you feel better soon, Jan. Remember, book sales are finicky things and they can change in a moment. And they’re no reflection on the quality of your work. As I keep hearing, it’s all about getting your books in front of people who will want to read (and buy) them. Maybe try a promo or something like that? xo

    1. Thanks Mary! I went out and did some yard work – felt good. Those last days before we relinquish a book to the editor are tough – I always encounter the hypos. Listening to Mozart tonight is also helpful. Hugs back at you!

  2. It’s really hard to keep motivated sometimes, I’m totally with you on that Jan. And I completely, relate with the lack of exercise, as I’ve had the worst back pain over the weekend because I’ve been spending so much time on the computer. But we have to keep going, or rather, let me start again- if we enjoy what we are doing, then that in itself is a reason to continue. Self doubt is a different kettle of fish, but if you really feel there is something you’d rather be doing than writing, then I say go for it. If not then realize that anything worthwhile has some toughness about it. Otherwise there would be a whole lot more books on the shelves! Go with your gut, and actually I’ve been reading a lot recently about how exercise increases our creativity, so perhaps taking more breaks, scheduling in short works, or whatever you enjoy, might help to keep you going in tough patches. The oncoming loom of winter doesn’t help things. But stick at it. I think you’ll find it worth it in the end. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the pep talk A.K.! I enjoy writing – I just don’t enjoy facing the cold hard facts about the publishing business! Well, who does, hey? Sorry to hear about your back pain I hope you feel better soon! Jan

  4. I completely understand your state of mind here, whatever we say, we write for others to read, and if that is not happening, what is the point?
    As for publishing, it is no wonder poets starve!
    This is why I find wattpad such joy, at least someone reads what I write, even if they don’t really READ it.

  5. Writers are just gluttons for punishment is the conclusion I’ve come to 😉 Lots of hard work goes behind most successes, we all know that. Yet how much of a role does luck play? It’s hard to know and yet we write on, and on, an on…

  6. I can totally relate to this Jan, and I too love the word ‘hypo’! I will use that from now on. I try to eat well and get some exercise (even though, like Mary) I don’t feel like doing anything at all when the hypo hits. Having children who I have to just get on and do things for – and distracting myself generally – helps. And working towards another personal goal that isn’t writing for a while helps too.

    1. Children are a great cure for the hypos! I love that whole passage from Moby Dick – I’ve got it memorized. My husband knows when I start spouting Melville I”m going to be peevish for a couple of days!

  7. I love the way you instinctively feed your hypos by writing about them. I guess that’s how you know you will eventually make your way out of the doldrums and onto the open sea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s