Okay, so you might say, “I’m never finished.” I feel that way as well. It seems there’s always tweaking. But, once the novel is sent off, gone, out of your reach, how do you feel? Good? At a loss? Jumping up and down, celebrating? Tearful?
I recently finished the third installment in my mystery series. I sent it to my line editor. It’s no longer on my daily work plate. Gone. Out of my hair. I’m relieved to have it “finished.” At least to have gotten it this this far. But, now what? Do I start another project?
This is a question every writer faces. We struggle and work on a project for months, even years. Suddenly, one day there is no more to do with that particular work of art. Do we feel as if our child has left home?
My answer is yes, I do feel as if my child has left home. I feel a bit disjointed and not sure what to do with my time. So, here are some tips for dealing with the let-down between projects:
Tip #1: Enjoy the extra time you have. Allow yourself to free-think. Instead of always being in the minds of your characters (which is where you’ve been for the last several months), get in your own mind. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Tip #2: Don’t wait till the project ends before you think about what you are going to do next. Make a list of things you wish you had time to do while you’re working. The list might include: 1) Shop for a new refrigerator 2) Call my sister 3) Have lunch with my friend 4) Join a Book Club 5) Go to a movie.
Tip #3: Consult that list you made and begin working through it. Recognize that you’ll soon be into a new project which will consume your time and energy.
Tip #4: Do not immediately start a new project. Wait at least two weeks before you embark on the next novel. If you start too soon, you will not give yourself and your creative juices the time it needs to create. This tip reminds me of when I work crossword puzzles. I tend to struggle over them until I finally put it aside. When I go do something else, something totally unrelated, the answers fly at me like bees.