Sunday, December 7, 2008

Post-NaNo: Ways to Celebrate

National Novel Writing Month has already come to a close, and you’re all ready to party! Set that novel aside. Put your pen down. Stash your sheets away. Save that file and hide it for a few months. You need to step away from your work.

Stepping away from your work will allow you some space to think. While you’re out of the novel-writing universe, you are offering your brain a chance to think things over, to meditate on how good (or bad) your novel is, and to find new ideas that can enrich your masterpiece. When you finally look at your novel again (hopefully at least a month after you’ve set it aside) you might find things that you want to change, and you could edit out anything that sounds like it came up from the Black Lagoon of Bad Writing.

While you’re stepping away, here are a few ways that you can celebrate the end of NaNoWriMo:

* Sleep. This applies especially to anyone who stayed up all November and slept for an hour each day if only to get an additional 1000 words into the daily quota.
* Watch a brainless movie. Look for something that doesn’t require brain power, but that you can still enjoy without you getting irritated by the stupidity of the entire thing.
* Take a walk alone (or with a friend, if you decided to isolate yourself in your attic during the entire November).
* Talk to people. Remember, you write better when you can tell your stories better – and when you have believable characters who talk to readers and to each other. When you start producing characters who sound like they read their words off a badly-written script (you can tell when you start cringing at your own writing), then you need to get out and talk to people.
* Do menial work. Clean your house. Do some gardening. Clean out your closet. Do anything that will tidy your life and clear the clutter around you. This can miraculously clear out the clutter in your brain, too, sometimes. You might even get a great idea while turning the soil over in your backyard, or while you are emptying your pantry.
* Dance. Exercise. Take care of your body. Was NaNoWriMo the month of sitting down and typing? Let your muscles get some oxygen now!
* Eat. Eat well. And drink lots of fluids. This should apply to every single month in the year: take care of yourself and your brain will never fail you.

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