Whenever I finish a big writing project, like a book, I feel completely spent and empty. The only things I can write for months afterward are flash fiction, (bad) poems, or blog posts. Sometimes only blog posts, and sometimes not even that.

I have heard other writers describe this feeling of being empty and raw, scraped clean from the inside, as if you are a carcass whose organs are feeding vultures and coyotes.

The sense of relief and accomplishment at having completed a project I’ve been working on for years soon devolves into panic that I will never, ever, be able to write another word again.

I know now, from experience, that this isn’t true. I will write again, always. It’s not a process that can be rushed. That only leads to frustration and unnecessary struggle. It’s better to wait. To think. Read. Play board games. Take the dogs on walks.

And eventually, I will wake up in the morning, and feel that urgency again. That burning need to get it all down on the page before it evaporates like smoke. Because I’ve always got something on the back burner, heat turned down to low.

But even on low, eventually the water boils.



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