There’s this misguided impression some people have that once you reach the status of semi-professionally published, writing a novel becomes a mundane affair.  Some people think that once you conquer the mountain that is the novel, all subsequent novels will be a piece of piss.
This is absolute horseshit.

Every novel is its own thing, complete with unique rewards and challenges.  Saying that once you’ve written one novel all subsequent ones will be easy is like saying that once you’ve climbed a mountain, no other mountain will ever give you a challenge.
There’s one thing that does come from writing multiple novels though, and that’s a better understanding of your writing.  You’ll start to know more about your particular strengths and weaknesses.  And undoubtedly there will be times where the words will come like treacle and your enthusiasm for your novel wanes.  Maybe not every writer, but nearly every writer I know has points in the process where they hate what they have written, when they just want to rip it up and start again.
For me that seems to be in the act changes, when the beginning moves into the middle, and more so where the middle moves into the end.  I think part of that is because when I come to write a novel, I tend to have a good sense of the beginning – have it clear in my head as if it were a movie playing.    At the end too, I have these big key scenes that I just know, that are my reward for reaching the end of the novel.
And then there’s the middle, the going from the start to the end.  I tend to have some key scenes very clear but I’ve learnt that this is where I really need to plan.  It’s that plan that takes me from this movie playing inside my head on into uncharted story without me getting lost.  Likewise, at the end the plan guides me into harbour and those key climatic scenes I’ve been waiting the entire novel to write.
Along the way, things change.  I discover some things need expanding, some chapters need consolidating.  The middle and the end often feel like tectonic plates that sit ontop each other, with some massive fault line between them.  And my job when I get to this stage is to smooth over the cracks, turn it from stormy seas into something as smooth as glass.  And that’s where my skill really gets put to the test.
I can tell when I’ve reached an act change, as suddenly, bouts of massive productivity are met with procrastination and  a reluctance to write.  The chapter plans I write before starting a writing session will seem harder to derive and the writing will see me divert a lot from the plan, as I try and dock the middle with the final act and all those cool climatic scenes I have lined up.
Act transition doesn’t take place in a single chapter.  I find (for me, at least) it’s something that happens over four or five.  And those chapters feel like treacle.  They feel like the worst things I’ve ever written.  They feel forced, the characters feel wrong and I find myself wishing I was writing something else.
And so I appear to have reached that stage now.  With a few days of NaNo left in a month which has seen me have people come to stay, a new Warcraft expansion, a lot of work with the day job and other commitments, I’ve slowed from being well ahead to having 6000 words still left to do.
I’ve also managed to create not one but two ideas for multi-book sagas, despite not actively trying to plan other books.  Let it never be said that I don;t find productive use for my procrastination
I know what I need to do, and I’ve come to accept that these tough transitions between acts is one of those things I just need to be better at dealing with.  When it comes to editing and reading it back, if I’ve done my job properly, I won;t see the rough edges and the middle will just glide into the final act.
That’s writing for you.  Anyone who tells you that sitting there making things up is easy, has no fucking clue.