The calm after the storm?
It’s a fact. The excitement of completing NaNoWriMo in the final days, hours or minutes of November results in such an adrenalin rush. Afterwards, life falls a bit flat!
So, how can we cope with the post-NaNoWriMo vacuum?
Apart from reconnecting with family and friends who hardly recognise you – and spending time enjoying the festive season – here are my top 5 tips.
Post-NaNoWriMo TIP 1: Keep on writing
You’ve made a habit of writing every day (or in fits and starts) and, while you maybe can’t keep up the same pace, you could keep on writing.
Instead of NaNo’s 1667 per day, you could set your sights a bit lower, but keep on writing …
- 500 a day
- 1000 a day
- 1000 a week
- 5000 a week
Choose a writing target which seems achievable and means you’ll finish the first draft of that novel within a few weeks/months. Before the next NaNoWriMo!
Choose a time of day/week that becomes your ‘writing slot’. If daily is impossible, choose at least one slot a week which works for you. Remind yourself:
- I’m Making the Most of Mondays
- I’m Taking Time to Write on Tuesdays
- My Wednesdays are for Writing
- My Thursdays are not just for Thinking About Writing …
- I’m having Fun, Writing on a Friday
- I’m Writing on the Weekend
Choose a mantra that works for you. Put it on your wall … here’s mine (from a Creative Writing course), and my mood board from way back.
Post-NaNoWriMo Tip 2: Don’t be tempted to start editing
You shouldn’t even think about editing if the first draft is still incomplete.
Don’t make the mistake of going back to the beginning and polishing Chapter 1.
Instead, refer to Tip 1!
Or, if you have a completed first draft, read on …
Tip 3: Don’t edit this year’s completed novel yet
Even if you’ve finished the first draft, you need distance from the words you wrote as a writer before you can start to see them with any clarity as an editor.
Put this year’s NaNoWriMo novel aside. If you feel you must edit, work on something else, like last year’s NaNoWriMo novel.
Preferably though, read on!
Post-NaNoWriMo Tip 4: Give yourself a break
Rather than writing or editing, think about doing something completely different.
Reading is an essential part of being a writer. Curl up with a book and escape. Give you and your mind a break. You might find yourself noticing what’s good / not so good and learn from it. So …
- Read a novel (or two or ten). Choose writers you’ve not read before and studied their style.
- Look at my bookshelf and consider reading some of those books.
- Read my Editing the RedPen Way: 10 Steps to Successful Self-Editing. If you haven’t a copy already, you can buy one here.
Post-NaNoWriMo Tip 5: Take a course
Take some time out to improve your skills: in writing, in editing, in Scrivener.
- Read through some of my blog posts. Many topics are examined via a weekly series so they form a free Scrivener course. Check out my Index page to see which series of posts might be useful for you.
- Check out Gwen Hernandez or Karen Prince. Both are experts in Scrivener and both offers excellent courses – some are free.
- Take my 5-day editing course. It’s free to those who join RedPen.
Next Monday is my final post of 2018. I’m then taking a break, from blogging, webinars and social media! I’ll be back on 7 January …
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