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NaNo Recovery

December 2, 2008

Well NaNo is over. Raise your hand if you’re glad.

But now that it’s all over, how do you get back your regular writing routine? It’s may not as easy as you think.

Odds are you fall into one of two camps. Either you’re sick of writing and sick of your story, or you’re really energized and just hitting your stride. If this last bit describes you, then you can read the rest of this post when you hit the wall.

You’re tired of your story, you’re characters are irritating you, your hands hurt, you’re tired, your plot has so many holes you’re afraid it’s leaking water…

You earned a week off, haven’t you?

Yes. You really have.

But don’t you dare take it.

Have you ever run a sprint and stopped right after the finish? You can really hurt yourself. You’re supposed to coast to a stop. Warm down (that is the opposite of warm up, isn’t it?).

Do the same thing with your writing or you will risk a wicked writer’s cramp. If you want to put your story away for a week or two, that’s fine. Spend 15 minutes a day in your journal, or on a writing prompt, or jotting down an idea for a new story…or blogging. But don’t take the time off.

Over the last 30 days you’ve developed quite a writing habit. This habit is one you shouldn’t break.

  1. December 2, 2008 6:21 am

    Coincidentally (or maybe not), there’s an article in the current Writer’s Digest entitled: “Rough it Up: Get Messy with your First Draft to get to the Good Stuff.” And in essence, it talks about the same principles as the NaNo premise.

    Here’s a quote from the article: “For your writing to come alive – to be multi-dimensional – you must barter away some control. The rewards are worth it.”

    So, if your draft is crap? That’s a good thing. 🙂

    Whether you finished NaNo is not really the point (but more of a bonus, really), the real benefit of this past month is that you established a writing habit. Take one day off if you must, but then get right back to it. Otherwise, what did you just suffer through November for?

    Also, the NaNo totals came in – 18% of participants won the challenge. I think that’s the best percentage, ever! Just think, there are 21,683 potential novels out there because of the challenge – and mine is one of them. 🙂

  2. December 2, 2008 6:25 am

    I won NaNo again and really, really don’t like my novel. I spent yesterday feeling hollow and empty, like a lost sheep, seeking direction. Partly that’s from the fact that the rush of finishing my novel, the competitions and word wars with other folks who were rushing to finish theirs as well… and the near immediate stoppage of posts on the forums I moderate. Partly it was from my sheer dislike of my novel this year.

    I’ll be back on the horse today, though, working on a different bit of prose. But I agree completely — you cannot just stop! Slow down from the wicked pace of NaNo… but don’t stop or it will hurt for a long time!

  3. December 2, 2008 7:58 am

    I won NaNo, but right now I don’t even want to work on the novel. However, it has inspired my muse to work on other things. If anything, my writing productivity has improved over the past month!

  4. December 2, 2008 8:04 am

    Bravo Bobbi – that’s what the challenge is all about: to get writers writing. 🙂

  5. December 2, 2008 4:40 pm

    Family medical emergencies derailed my NaNo efforts this year. Congratulations to everyone who won and those who participated!

    Usually my NaNo novel makes my muse want to be off working on something else. I need to pick up one of her other favorite projects.

  6. December 2, 2008 5:00 pm

    Too often December sees a massive drop in writing for a lot of people. There’s burn out. And I’m included in this camp. I bailed on NaNo coz I had a few days off of writing all together, not just low words counts. And it’s bloody hard to get back into it.

    Maybe we should have a post on picking up the pen again?

  7. December 3, 2008 8:32 am

    raises hand weakly… yay! did it.. have not looked at it all week… think I aught to… but not keen to…

  8. December 3, 2008 8:06 pm

    I managed to get there – my first NaNo. Do not want to look at it for a bit, BUT I have an excellent suggestion for others in a similar position. I am going to give a printed copy of this novel to my father for Christmas. So I have no choice but to press on with editting, proofreading, and fixing that ending and a couple of other immediate points that should be doeable for December.

    Bonus – I get a second(ish) draft AND a low budget present. Others may want to extend this and give more people a copy, you could make a REAL saving if you are on a tight budget like me!

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