I hate this time, this purgatory of between-ness when my latest (and always greatest) story has been submitted and before the next-great-story-idea impels me to write . In these periods when my brain is not consumed with a single idea, I cast about, unsure of what to do.
My writer's workbench is covered with incomplete projects, stories that have not yet found a home, and those that just don't seem to work properly. There are the great unfinished novels lying about in their not-quite-finished state, waiting for only a kind hand to guide the last 10, 25, or 75 percent of the remainder. I page through the unfinished drafts, pecking a word, a sentence, a paragraph or scene or two before abandoning the effort and take a stab at another, hoping all the while that lightning will strike, the heavens part, and the great illumination would suffuse the work.
Alas, that never happens and I plod along, pecking, pecking, pecking at dull, lifeless prose, resigned to having the piece achieve high mediocracy at best.
Somehow pieces do get finished, at least finished enough that I can start editing, which is my absolutely favorite part of writing. I love polishing the words, brutally cutting swathes of text or moving them about to more interesting territory, expanding parts where something must be explained and slicing the obvious, banal, or clichéd phrases so that the story reads as fresh as if it had emerged fully formed in a conversation. Then I add a few more touches to ensure it is in order and off it goes - another submission launched into editorial review space.And, at that point, I am once again in the between times purgatory.