I had a “me, too” moment reading this, Gail. Ugh.
I’ve helped myself feel better about my own shiftlessness (partially, anyway) by naming this period a dry spell. A lot of writers talk about going through periods of intense creativity followed by periods of drought. I mean “drought” in terms of output, not necessarily creativity. I think when writers talk of such periods they’re discussing a shoring up, an exploration, a search for the next direction. Sometimes one creative well runs dry, and we need to spend time surveying the landscape, digging, digging again, digging yet again, until we discover the next source.
I think it’s good you still wrote, no matter whether you published or not. Keeping with the act of writing keeps us connected to the craft, so that when we discover the next source, we’ll be ready to write the heck out of it.