So NaNoWriMo is over and I “won.” But December so far hasn’t been the roll of momentum I hoped it to be so far. I’m not doing bad, but I’m by no means keeping the same pace I was during November. I’ve been contemplating how to fight the “December blues” and I’ve come up with some solutions. I’m not necessarily blocked, but I’m finding things slowing down. In order to keep steady, I’ve come up with these options:
1. Take three days off the novel. Work on something else.
I’ve been contemplating a couple of things. One: what is going to be my next novel. Next novel? Why are you thinking about that already? Well, I think it’s always good to be one step ahead. Since I feel like this novel will be wrapping up this month, as far as first draft go, it might be good to take some time off the novel and begin working on an outline for the next novel. This does not mean abandon the current novel by any means. Just let it breathe a bit. If you were non-stop working in November, then you need a chance to catch your breath. Taking a couple of days off the novel might help recharge you and keep you motivated to finish it. Two: work on short stories. I’m a big short story guy, so I always find down times during novel writing a good time to work on some shorts. I have some that I have to write for challenges and anthologies, so if the novel is going too slowly, I may shift my attention to some short stories for a couple of days.
2. Fall in love with your novel again.
Outline getting wonky? Plot going off the rails? Might be a good time to rewrite your outline to put the universe back in alignment. This is also a chance for you to fall in love with your novel all over again because you can see, “Oh yeah,I really liked when I wrote that scene and this will connect really well with this new scene I have planned.” I’m a big believe in changing outlines as you go. It keeps you structured most of the time, but when things get off base, it’s good to clean up any bumps in the road by restructuring.
3. Write the end.
If you’re really feeling the blues, write the end of your novel. At least then you have an ending and then you can just fill in the blanks to get where you want. I’ve never done this myself, but I’ve heard it recommended by others. It’s worth a try!
4. Do some prompts, challenges, and the like.
If the novel is moving slowly, but you still want to scratch the writing itch, it’s always good to find challenges and prompts to keep you writing. That way your writing muscle doesn’t get weak. For me, writing this blog has been a way to “work out” so to speak. While my past couple of days working on my novel have been fruitful, this definitely hasn’t been true since December started.
5. Make a goal for the end of the month.
My goal for the end of December is to finish the first draft of this novel. At 85,000 words, it’s already pretty big and I can see some light at the end of the tunnel now. So if you’re finding things aren’t working as well as they did in November, make yourself a goal. It doesn’t have to be 50,000 words, but it should be something you feel comfortable doing.
Well, hope this has helped anyone else experiencing December blues. What has helped you keep the momentum going after NaNoWriMo?