Lately, I’ve been feeling like Henri the existential cat. Life goes on yet there’s an inexplicable hole in my life. After thinking about it for several days and attempting to fill said trench with copious amounts of Thanksgiving pie, I finally realized the source of my ennui.
I miss my novel characters.
I miss their quirks, their stubborn refusal to do what I tell them to do, and the simple act of discovering a completely new (yet perfectly logical) twist in the plot development road.
In a nutshell, I miss writing.
I knew I was going to experience caffeine withdrawal but this empty-nest feeling is new. No one ever seems to talk about it. Instead, we’re inundated with advice on research, outlining, writing the novel, developing the subplots, finishing the last 50 pages with proper eclat, etc., etc.
What about the letdown? Who talks about this? Did I miss the post-partum novel completion blog posts?
Looks like I did.
There’s an emptiness in me now where my characters used to live, dream, work, and struggle. Yes, yes, I know. It’s the fallow time between typing The End on the first draft and plunging back into the fray with editorial-machete wielding abandon.
It’s the very necessary time when the yeast goes to work while the baker rests from the hard labors of mixing and kneading.
But I understand now why novelists sometimes feel an emptiness after typing The End. The children are moving away, off living their own lives, coming home only at the holidays, aka revisions.
It’s a little sad.