How To Cure Your NaNoWriMo Hangover
50,000 words in 30 days – that is the premise of National Novel Writing Month, or in short: NaNoWriMo.
If you were participating in this writing event, you should be done by now. November has gone and a draft of your novel should lie in front of you. The hard task of writing is over – even though there’s still a lot to be done before you can publish your novel.
Before that, however, we should work on your NaNo hangover. One month of excessive writing and creative work is straining. We know that and you can probably feel it right now. Thus, it’s time to unwind a bit before going back to the revision and improvement process.
How To Unwind After NaNoWriMo
There are some things you surely neglected when writing your 50,000 words. Now is the time to catch up with everything you couldn’t do over November!
1. Take A Break
For 30 days, for a whole month, your life has revolved around your novel. Your thoughts, your efforts, your sweat, your sleep – it all went into writing. Now it’s time to take a break. Step away from your writing, literally and figuratively.
You surely are burned out and in need of some rest. And so is your book. If you stay into the matter for too long, you can loose your sight on what really matters for the story and your writing. The break will give you the chance to gain a completely new perspective and recharge all the empty batteries.
Only then, when you are fresh and relaxed again, you should start the editing process.
2. Distance Yourself From Your Book
To get away from your novel completely, especially in your mind, you need to focus on something else. The novel has been your obsession for so long and the story, characters and ideas are burned into your mind. Cleanse your palate by diving into a completely different story.
- Read a book by another author, best something not related to your scenery or genre at all.
- Binge-watch a good TV series like Mr. Robot, Breaking Bad or Friends.
- Play a video game; Pokémon Sun and Moon are out now.
If you shoved all your thoughts of your own story aside and allowed the new impressions to flood you, you can go back to your project all refreshed.
3. Do What You Have Missed
Play a new game or re-watch your favorite movie. During NaNoWriMo, you certainly didn’t have the time for that. Now it’s time to go back to the things that you enjoy – besides writing.
Clean up your desk, put fresh and clean sheets on your bed, spend some time in the hot bathtub. Just sit down and enjoy a nice tea, coffee or hot chocolate without having to think about the word count of your novel.
Surely, your friends and family would like to see you again as well. Christmas is there soon, so make some room for shopping, meeting up with friends and going to Christmas markets.
4. The Editing Process
Editing the draft of your novel is a difficult task. Make sure that your break between writing and editing is long enough. Two weeks, three weeks, there really is no rule of thumb here. Take a break as long as you need it before you tackle this next milestone.
The editing process is a long and tedious one. We have briefly touched the topic in our article about how to write a book. Just know that it will involve a lot of work and consultation with your proof-readers. This process will take even longer than the 30 days you had during NaNoWriMo, but only because you will not be working non-stop.
5. Don’t Give Up
The first thing you usually do during a hangover is curse whatever has caused it. While frustration is understandable, we have to issue a warning here: Don’t do anything you might regret!
What might that be? Giving up for example. You have worked hard on your draft. 50,000 words a month is not a piece of cake! And you did it. Now is the time to take a break, but surely not to give up.
You may also be tempted to immediately delete and throw away all you’ve written. Don’t! After all the hard work you may feel that your writing is not up to par or you produced something you do not like. You’ve been under a lot pressure during NaNoWriMo, of course things are not pitch-perfect in your writing or story. This is why you need this break so you can continue working on it later. Flaws and deficiencies can be shed during the editing process.