Recently, I lost all motivation to write. I had works in progress that were depending on me, but the desire I'd once had to see them completed had just gone away. Completely. And then an amazing thing happened. I remembered how much I enjoy writing, and how much it is a part of me. It also helped--tremendously--that I had a group of people behind me encouraging me and letting me know that they believe in me.
With all of that in mind, I pulled up a piece that I haven't worked on in some time, and I fell in love all over again with the characters. There were aspects of their lives that were remembered, but also many that felt fresh and new to me because I hadn't experienced them in so long. They were still my characters, but it was almost like being introduced to them for the first time.
I think as writers that we become so bogged down in completing novels/stories/poems/whatever, that we lose sight of the most important reason why we do what we do. We forget that writing is fun, fulfilling, inspirational, and more often than not--for me, at least--cathartic. The rush of joy I have when I put the final period on a rough draft is something that only an author can appreciate. It's almost like a parent seeing their child's first step. This is mine. I'm sending it out into the world for others to see, and I'm telling them how happy it makes me.
My characters took a vacation from editing. They were given time to just exist and be in their world without me putting my stresses and self-induced worries onto them. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our pieces--tying in all of our real-world garbage--that our characters can suffer from it. I think giving them space, giving them a vacation, is probably the best thing we can do. It gives us time to get perspective on our lives so that we can give the characters the lives they deserve--even if it's the best end to their life.
Do you have characters that need a vacation? Do you have characters that have been on vacation for a while? Too long? Why don't you check in on them and see how their doing? Just remember, it's okay to let them stay on vacation for as long as they--and you!--need. Even if that means forever.