December 1st, 12:00am, a strange thing happened to writers across the globe. The deadline passed. If we’d finished our 50,000 words — or whatever modified goal we’d set for ourselves, we celebrated. If we hadn’t? Well, we beat ourselves up and tried to make excuses.
But now what?
Without this project and deadline beating down our necks, some of us are feeling… lost. Cast adrift. And just maybe a little hung over.
Here’s my list of:
Morgan’s Top 5 Things To Do AFTER NaNoWriMo
Note: These items work just as well for any writer who’s been pushing hard to finish a novel or meet a deadline.
5. Catch up on sleep
I don’t know about you, but between long hours at my day job, holiday travel, and NaNoWriMo, my sleep was getting the short shift.
It’s all fun and games when you can imagine your characters and their worlds, but when you start seeing them, maybe it’s time to lay off the caffeine and rest up.
4. Catch up on chores
For those of you like me, you likely let a few things slide while chasing that nebulous deadline–Like laundry (luckily, I found my stash of sweaters and shifted my wardrobe over, that helped stretch the month), cleaning your kitchen, and vacuuming.
Hopefully, you took my tips before diving into that novel-writing exercise and had enough things cleaned and prepped that your cleanliness slip didn’t take you down too many notches.
Where is my vacuum, again?
3. Tackle your to-read pile!
Did you spend months preparing for your novel? Then, the mad sprint to get it written? With all the focus on your own words, you might have felt guilty taking time away to read. But! Now that your novel is resting, waiting for edits or beta readers (like bread before baking) you have some time to just breath.
Now is the time to explore the other worlds. If you need to feel industrious, remember that reading widely is recommended for all writers. And comps should be recent — in the last two-to-three years. So really, reading in your genre is um… research!
2. Indulge in your OTHER hobbies
Whether it’s catching up on the TV shows you’ve missed, video games, the gym, Pokemon, or crafting, writing probably isn’t your only interest. Now is a great time to remember those other things you love, and take the time to indulge in them. Focusing on your writing, to the exclusion of everything else, can limit your creativity. Most of us need time away from the keyboard to replenish our writing drive and avoid (or recover from) burn out.
1. Finish the story at a more leisurely pace.
Yes, some people finish a story or a draft in 30 days, in the hoped for 50,000 words (or more if you’re better at sprinting than I am). But many of us still have words to write, plot lines to wrap up.
Now? Without the deadline rushing down on us, that doesn’t mean we should stop with our stories! It means we can catch up on chores and sleep, and squeak out the rest of the story while it’s still fresh in our heads.
Have you recently finished a novel? (Or at least NaNoWriMo)?
What’s YOUR next act?