While we’re waiting for next year’s NaNoWriMo, why not try a few of the ideas below?
#1 Don’t panic.
The world might have ended for a while there, especially if you were emotionally invested in the novel (as is the case with a lot of my NaNo stories due to the rush), but it’s more of a joyous occasion than not. Scary and joyous.
Let the world know! Of course, if there are your actual readers out there in the said world, they might like to know when they will be able to read the novel in question, too—they tend to like that info way better than the fact that you’ve finished your first draft. Or you might prefer a more private approach, the one where only your immediate people know why you’re grinning and freaking out at the same time. Either way, there’s no reason not to take a few moments to feel the sheer victory only a writer feels when they finish something. Just remember #4 and you’ll be fine. (Eventually.)
#3 Use the momentum to work on something else.
I’ve gone back to editing the Second Werewolf Novel on the very day I’ve finished my NaNo 2019. Don’t use the fact that you’ve finished your current novel as an excuse to stop writing. (Unless, of course, you need a few days/weeks off to recuperate and get back into the game. The important part is to stay in it.)
#4 Understand that it’s not the end of the journey with your characters, your setting and your plot.
Since one of the biggest reasons why I’ve had to take a few days’ delay before I’ve written those damn final few thousand words in Johnny’s Girls was that I didn’t actually want to part with the characters and the setting, my s.o. (and partner in the crime of committing fiction) recently told me in no uncertain terms that I still had to come back to them to edit the novel. Weirdly, but the idea helped a lot, even though my inner writer apparently still thinks editing is a curse word. I want to go back to this. I love the setting, and care for the characters enough. Hopefully it helps in the next part of the process.
#5 Contemplate the idea of sequels.
While it might be a bit easier if you knew, either way, what you thought about sequels before finishing the novel, it doesn’t hurt to revisit the idea now. If the novel informed you that it yearned for a sequel in the latter part of the writing journey, see if there’s anything you might want to change while you’re editing it to accomodate the continuation of the plot better. On the other hand, if you’ve been aware of the fact even before, write down all the continuity details you can catch while editing the novel, so you don’t have to go all ctrl+f later. (Though, in my experience, there’s no way to avoid the ctrl+f, and not just for characters’ eye colours.) If, though, you’re the type of person to already have all the important details of the sequel(s) figured out, have an honest discussion with your gut and see if anything needs adjusting before you continue the series.
#6 Catch up with your favourite tv shows, books and the world in general.
The weekend when NaNo 2019 ended, I’ve watched 5 episodes of Supernatural in a row, and proceeded to read two Savannah Martin novels in two and a half days. It’s a celebration of sorts in itself.
#7 Plan your attack.
There is absolutely nothing easier than letting your novel rest—for good—and working on other things. BUT. Getting a novel out there works wonders for your writing, and it sort of turns the world around for a baby writer—at least that’s what happened to me, the first time I’ve had a novel published. The next novel
must should might be better than the novel you’ve just finished, but why let this one rot? Arm yourself with a little bit of motivation, a little bit of daring and a lot of patience for your own writing, and edit the shit out of your novel. The approaches to editing and/or revising are as many as the starry writers in the sky, and find the one(s) which works for you. You can always try another one later. Theonly important thing is that you actuallydo it!
#8 Get working on getting the novel out there.
As for the options here, there are way to many for me to list, so go make Google your best friend for a few hours and/or days. Track writers whoss careers you like and see what you can learn from their interviews, speeches and articles. Never forget to try new things, even when they seem out there, and never ever forget to have fun. My current idea is going it alone, with my s.o., and editing, equipping and publishing our own works in the future. While I will still—with pleasure—publish traditionally, when possible, the fiction I write in my native Croatian, for the English novels I’m taking the plunge. I’ll let you now how it goes, either way.
#9 Write a blog post about it.
It might make you feel better. I hope.
#10 Write the next novel.
Who needs rest?
Photo by David Francis.