Ask anybody who completes a large project what the toughest part is, and they will tell you it is the time between projects. This is equally true for writing, especially if you just finished a novel. Most of us have spent more than a year researching, planning, and then writing our books.
With my books representing a series, it becomes especially tempting to dive into the next book immediately. My mind is a whirl of ideas, plot points, character arcs, and a conclusion that ties in all the characters and the previous two books. However, this is the worst time to write.
First of all, my time needs to be shifted to marketing, even though it will be another week before advertising starts to ramp up. Secondly, first impressions are not always the correct ones to follow when writing a series. Readers will tell you what they liked and did not like in your book based on their perceptions. Their feedback often reveals ideas and directions for my characters I had not considered. These thoughts often result in richer character development.
Of course, my health needs the break as well. To write my books is a painful affair, and I often push my body beyond where it wants to go to ensure a given scene is typed out before it is altered, or vanishes from before my mind’s eye. By the time I finish writing a book I am in physical need of a rest. Unfortunately, my mind enjoys the places it takes me, and so there is a lot of mental discipline, tricks, and practice involved in trying to slow it down.
In the end, we all need to take a break after we accomplish a goal. It is not only a time to celebrate our accomplishments, but also a time to reflect, re-energize, and consider the opportunities and challenges before us.