Book 9 has left the building!

Well, in truth, it pinged its merry way off to Fiona, my editor, just over a week ago. I don't know whether the 'birth' of this book was easier - the characters and setting were all in place as this is the fourth book of The Realm, so the main focus was the plot - but it has all seemed more straightforward than other books have been.

Consequently, when I finished the first draft, I didn't feel a huge amount of emotion - glad to finish it and tired, mostly - and I felt even less having finished three rounds of edits on it. Then, it was more, "Well, I knew I would get this done, and now I have."

Perhaps that's it... In the past, maybe I wasn't always sure I would actually finish the book. And indeed, there is a 'finished' book that I can't bear to edit. But I can't remember feeling so nothing about getting to this stage with a book.

A good friend suggested that I'd reached the "I'm a professional writer and this is a task that's been completed, so no big deal" stage. Much as I would love that to be true, I suspect the reality is more that I didn't get a holiday after launching the first three books of The Realm series, went almost straight into writing the fourth and am just exhausted now!

Despite being tired, I'm also incapable of taking time off. I finished the edits on a Saturday. I managed to take the Sunday as a 'catch up day' but even then, I was already planning how to tackle book #10 while Fiona has book #9. It seems utterly strange to me to not be working on a book at some point during the day. I rarely take a whole day off, even at the weekends. I may not do much, and it may be less work on a novel and more on other writing-related tasks (marketing, blog posts, interviews with other authors etc.), but I don't think a day goes by without me doing something.

Hence, when I finished my edits, I was going, "What now?" Sunday is normally the day I sit down and plan my week, but what was going in my week? I had a Zoom call for a podcast and I had a couple of family commitments, but other than that... nothing.

The New Shiny Thing was waving (it's been waving at me for ages). But should I plunge straight into book #10 without having at least a bit of a break?

My brain didn't really give me an option! I had the characters fairly set in my head, and the setting, and some inkling of the plot, but nothing about the plot was concrete. I forced myself to take Monday as a 'me day' and wrote long-overdue letters to friends. On the Tuesday morning I was in a Zoom meeting for a podcast. And yes, you guessed it, by Tuesday afternoon, I was deep into thinking about book #10.

Has anyone else hit this after finishing? A huge feeling of, "Okay, done that. Now what?" Or is it just me? And how do people convince themselves to take time off??