I'm essentially finished the novel (at least this draft), except for one chapter that I need to research more (historical accuracy) when I get home. I'm so proud of the work I've done, and yet, it feels terrible, like I've been dumped. All those characters I've been spending my life with are out of my subconscious and into the world and they floated away at novel's end, free to live their own lives.
I've started another novel, though, one that's been dimly living in the back of my mind for almost a year, waiting for its chance. But I don't know these characters so well yet; I don't know what side of the bed they sleep on, how they comb their hair. But I'm forging ahead, not looking back, wistful for those with whom I was so intimate for so long. I drink tea, I listen to Neil Young and Belle & Sebastian; I try not to think about the other novel, so thick and beautiful, on the other side of the desk. I put it in my suitcase and do research for the new novel on the Internet. Baby steps.