I can't get it back. I've been trying for six months now and it just doesn't seem to be happening. Backstory: Five years ago I started writing seriously and about 1-1/2 years later I sacrificed it to begin an on/off 3-year relationship and although now I realize he was a great "transitional" man, he wasn't my future. This ended (for the last time) early this year. The relationship was liberating, uninhibited, exposing me to myself and allowing me to cut through layers to uncover who was really in there, and I truly love this reinvented me. Since then I have been furiously trying to get back what I had before, rereading what I had written and seeing how much life and substance those characters have. I realize I'm not the same person I was when I wrote them and will most likely not get that back, but I don't understand why I can't seem to write anything agreeable to me now. It all seems so empty, so shallow. Have I become empty and shallow? Has the breakup put me on the defensive so much that I'm not even allowing a character to surface? I want this so badly that I'm sitting here crying because I don't understand what happened. I can write lists and viewpoints and emails and ideas and technical for work but I can't seem to write anything that has a heartbeat. I've tried to go back and read those writing books and writing inspiration books and with the exception of a few or a few sentences and quotes here and there, I seem to not know who this new me is from a writer's perspective, and how to work with her. Maybe I'm writing the wrong thing? Maybe I need to add more edge to my writing - a little murder, sex, insanity? Maybe I'm trying to write as the previous me would and the now me is fighting it? Any ideas?