Somehow — SOMEHOW — November is over.
Thanksgiving was last week here in the States, and my mental calendar gears have clanked from “almost Thanksgiving” over to “almost Christmas”. This time of year always looks so good on blogs, too. All golden lights and hot drinks—it’s easy to get totally run over by the actual, real-life, oh-my-god-there’s-no-time crush that can come with November ending.
If NaNoWriMo went on the back burner for you, know that that is totally OK and you are not alone. I’m not a fan of crunching a novel into a single month to begin with, but I am definitely the kind of person who gets caught up in setting outrageous, ambitious goals, and then kicking myself when I can’t meet them.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just done with writing at the moment, take a minute to get yourself a nice cup of tea, relax, and see if any of these could be your next steps:
Congratulate Yourself (Mandatory)
Yo. You got something from your head and out onto paper. I don’t care if it was 100K words or 500 words. That is progress!!
Forget Deadlines: Back to Basics
Don’t beat yourself up if you needed more time to plan! I actually spend a lot of time gathering images, reading articles, and making notes before I even open a blank document for a book. Like, I could easily spend a month just gathering ideas and notes. And it’s really easy to lose momentum for a story if you haven’t worked out the details of how it will end. Maybe the next step is to draw up an outline of your characters, the setting, etc., and then figure out what will be different about them by the time you reach the ending.
Refresh and Recharge
Maybe it’s time to do something completely different for a while. Maybe something too big to tangle with came up while you were trying to write this month. That’s OK! Take a break, but first pencil in the date when you’ll pick things up again. That can mean setting a date when you continue the same story, or setting the date when you start brainstorming a different one.
Extend Your Deadline
If you feel like you’ve fallen behind but are still on a roll, this could be the option for you right now. I talked a little bit about this in My Magic Word Count Formula: for me, extending my November writing into ‘finish a draft by New Year’s’ writing helped a lot. There are no rules, here, so go nuts–extend your deadline enough that it helps, but not so far that you’ll be tempted to put things in a drawer for twenty years.
I hope these help make your end-of-November days a little less stressful 🙂