Before we start I want to say, ‘congratulations’. You wrote for thirty days, give or take a handful. You created a habit. NaNoWriMo is over, the tough part is now keeping the habit.
I’m creatively drained.
My head pounds a little when I think too hard about plot.
My fingers shake when they touch the keys.
An aching pain shoots up my wrists.
I’ve drunk enough tea this month to fill Boston Harbor.
The usual post – NaNo symptoms.
We got here by the skin of our teeth. Some of us wrote well over 50k, some of us hit 50k, some of us wrote as much as we could. I’m proud of you, every single one of you. It’s not easy to sit down and commit to something especially something so big, much less try and see it through. So long as you kept writing until the end, you are a NaNoWriMo winner in my eyes.
My hands feel empty now. It’s that foreboding feeling of ‘well, what do I do now?’. My schedule seems so empty, despite the fact that I know I have a lot to get done in the next couple of months. In the same breath, I’m exhausted. It’s been a long time since I’ve pushed myself that much creatively in a small amount of time. I know a lot of you guys are also pretty drained.
So, what do we do now?
We continue to write.
There’s no need to keep writing at this punishing pace. Don’t push yourself to write thousands of words a day (unless it’s something that you feel is feasible). But a few hundred words a day, snuck in 10 or 15 minute segments of time is a good place to be.
This habit we’ve started is not something we want to break. I broke the habit last year, and it’s probably my biggest regret (writing wise, at least.). Breaking it brought a lot of discouragement into my creativity because I couldn’t find that place again. I had writer’s block for months afterwards, no ideas, no paragraphs, and no sentences.
Set reasonable monthly or weekly writing goals. Maybe 10k a month or whatever you feel you can fit in your lifestyle.
Explore new ideas and genres, as often as you can. I recommend interspersing your larger works of art with flash fictions and short stories under 5k. You’ll be able to keep yourself creatively active and vibrant without exhausting yourself. Switching things up is also helpful to battle writer’s block.
I’m exhausted, how do I replenish myself so I can write?
Take a few days, no more or less, and immerse yourself in books, graphic, novels, tv shows, writing blogs etc. Whatever inspires you creatively, press into it.
Get a really good night’s rest. Sleep fixes a lot of things.
Eat good, healthy food. Everything that you put in your body is broken down to fuel. Eat a lot. Give your brain some much needed energy that it can use to it’s fullest potential.
I dare you to get a pet dragon(Mine hoards peppermint patties and licorice.).
Go climb mount Everest(It’ll be a piece of cake after NaNoWriMo).
Take a nap(You deserve it.).
You did something!
It’s been a long month and I’d like to leave you with one last thought: you did something.
You spent a month writing.
You put words on paper.
You went through a creative growth spurt.
You had the courage to say, ‘once upon a time’ and to see it through.
You devoted the last month to planting seeds. You may not see the fruit of those seeds for a long time. The story you just wrote may never get published or ever see anyone else’s eyes. But committing to something and seeing it through, even with life and broken expectations, is something a lot of people can’t do.
Writing during NaNoWriMo was fun (it should’ve been at least); it was stressful, it was invigorating, and sometimes it was one tiny word after another. But you did it. You just did something that will impact the rest of your life. Whether you come back again or you decide you’re done with crazy town, for a moment you were a part of a community that is changing the world and that experience changed you just as it does everyone else.
You stretched your capabilities, and no matter what your word count ended up being: I am so proud of you.
You’re free now, go take a nap, eat some chocolate, drink some water – go on living your life.
As for me?
My crazy self is pushing to write 80k this coming month (I am however including blog posts and I’m not just working on one project), my fingers already clench at the thought of pressing down that many keys.
This year, however, the exhaustion of NaNoWriMo is in some ways energizing me and empowering me to knock out some stories that I’ve been working on over the past couple of months.
What are your goals now that NaNoWriMo is over?