Here’s a warning and encouragement to writers: Getting a book all the way to finished – from rough to drafts to cover art applied and published – is like running a mental marathon. A long, long marathon.
Tell No Tales is one of the fastest books I’ve put together so far. Started the rough in November 2018, finished it in December, spent one month away from the draft (working on Pearl of Fire in the meantime) so I could edit it properly, then editing from February up through the first week or so of June, and then formatting, cover art, dealing with the Library of Congress, etc. The fastest I’ve ever put one specific book together, and still the overall project took 8 months.
That’s a long time to have something occupying a corner of your brain.
So when a long-term project is over, I always find there is a mental crash. Lasts at least a few days, and it’s better to count on at least a week, when there simply Are No Words. I can have all my notes for other projects laid out, I can have outlines and sketched dialogue sitting and waiting, and – there’s just nothing.
(FYI, this is one reason I try to write fic at least a chapter or so in advance before posting stuff, so I don’t hit a blank spot and have nothing left to give people.)
I’ve had this post-project plotbunny-flop happen every time I finish a major project, and it’s just as aggravating every time. Intellectually I know that with a little rest and liberal application of fiction (anime, books, etc.) I’ll get over it in week or so. Emotionally, it is frustrating as hell.
But, also based on past experience, pushing the plotbunnies before they’re rested just doesn’t help. A brain that can crank out 50K in 30 days in November for NaNoWriMo still needs a break at the end of a project. Only time, rest, and a little relaxation will bring the creative flow back into working order.
The plotbunnies will come back. Likely with a new and wild idea you didn’t consider before. Patience is the name of the game.
…Patience is considered a virtue because it’s really, really hard.
Anyway. Just thought I’d post this for anyone else suffering a temporary mind-blank. Don’t panic. This is normal. As normal as writers get, anyway. Just give it a few days, and breathe.