The Post-NaNoWriMo Slump


What do you do after NaNo?

If you’re like me, you “won” but you didn’t actually finish your story. And if you didn’t win, you probably didn’t finish your story either!

After writing with such dedication for the entire month, I’m feeling burned out on writing, even though I’m still daydreaming about the story and what I have left to transfer from brain to text.

So how am I tackling it? Here’s some post-NaNo advice.

  1. It’s okay to take a break. Whether it’s a day or a week or a month or more, it’s always okay to take a break. With the holidays this is a busy time of year for many of us, and it may be harder than ever to squeeze in writing time. It’s okay.
  2. If you do find yourself with time and desire to write, stop focusing on word count. You don’t have a daily goal to meet anymore (unless you still want to because that’s helpful for you) so try instead to sit down for half an hour and write what you can. Or do ten-minute sprints in between other activities. Or set a timer for an hour and write, just forget the outside world exists until it dings. Time spent is the accomplishment now, not words written.
  3. But don’t use #2 as an excuse to let your inner editor come back. You’re still writing a first draft. Leave the bad words on the page and fix it later.
  4. If you had any writing rituals for NaNo, keep them in place. Light that scented candle or make yourself a mug of your favorite tea, or do your twenty jumping jacks first, or whatever–everyone’s got a different writing routine. Even if you’re not writing every day, or you’ve taken a break, keep the routine in place on the days you do write. It will help you find the same spill-it-all writing mindset you had during NaNo!

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