I’ve been asking that question since getting up this morning. Well, to tell the truth, I’ve been asking it for the last two weeks, since finishing the final edits on a novel and seeing it through conversion, upload and watching the sales start to trickle in. This is nothing new. Each time I finish a project, whether it is a novel or a short story, there is a period of time when my brain sort of checks out and goes on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I can function. I’ve managed to rebuild the plumbing under two sinks without causing any floods and mow without cutting any appendages off. But when it comes to writing anything, be it a blog or getting started on the next project, well, that’s pretty much a lost cause.
Now don’t get me wrong. The brain is working on writing projects but in its own warped way. I can feel the basic threads of the next book coming together. Of course, the brain is only teasing me with little hints and not giving me enough to start writing. That would be too easy and too tempting. I might actually sit down at the keyboard and start writing again and the brain is determined to continue enjoying its vacation, even if it is beginning to stew on the next plot.
This isn’t burnout. I haven’t come close to hitting the wall (knocks on wood and looks around making sure no one really heard me say that). This is a normal process for me. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating, especially since I need to be working on Rye Crisp, the novel Sarah and I are collaborating on. I also need to be working on the next installment of the Nocturnal Origins series. Then there’s the next book in the series that shall not be named — at least not yet. And the space opera that is 3/4 finished. And. . . . Well, you get the picture.
The other problem with this is it makes blogging here difficult because I grouchy. That means any idiocy happening in the industry — and anyone supporting said idiocy — will be skewered, possibly more than they should be. So, instead of causing a war, I’ll try to sit back and wait until the brain decides to return home. And, yes, I have visions of it lounging around, enjoying a drink with a little umbrella in it — and I resent the fact the brain went and didn’t take the rest of me with it.
Of course, real life hasn’t been cooperating very well with the writing for the last week or so either. Without going into detail, we are in a waiting game with a beloved family member. It is that time we all dread, the time when we know the phone will ring and we’ll learn someone we love dearly is no longer with us. Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, this weekend my son graduates from college. Add in the usual day-to-day kerfluffles and, well, it’s really no surprise the brain has checked out for awhile.
So what is a writer to do during this time of no-brain? For me, I do my best to catch up on all the chores I let slip while writing. That’s why all the plumbing repairs. It’s why I spent a day in the yard planting trees and shrubs. After exhausting the brain, it is time to exhaust the body. Fortunately, the temperature has been nice here in Texas and not in triple digits.
I’ve also been reading — a lot. Some of it has been research for one of the next books to be done. But a lot of it has been guilty pleasure books. You know the sort I’m talking about — the ones you are glad you have an e-reader or app on your tablet or laptop for since you don’t want to explain why you are reading that kind of book. No, I don’t read bodice rippers, at least not usually. But it is amazing the number of folks who will ask that question, with that emphasis, if they see you reading science fiction or fantasy or, gasp, history. We won’t even talk about some of the questions and comments that come when they see the political or economic books I read.
So, what do you guys do to ease through that transition period between the end of one book and the beginning of another?