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NaNo Hangover Remedies

I really didn't want to do a post-NaNo post.  I really wanted to go on to talk about other things besides the fever-dream that is NaNoWriMo since it has already taken up an entire month.  But that is the story that needs me to tell it this week, so here it is.

November is still a bit hazy to me.  The pounding headache has left but the vertigo is sticking around for a while, it seems.  I feel all the time I was using writing.  It feels like a vacuum in my life has been shut off and now there is air again.  My body wakes up at 5am.  Consistently since Dec. 1st.  For absolutely no reason.  The NaNo site cleverly used a title similar to the one above in their email they sent out Monday.  I refuse to change mine out of principle, since I wrote most of this Sunday night, and I had it first. :D

If you did not participate in NaNo, but you know and/or love someone who did, you should be pleased to see work responsibilities, household chores, and personal hygiene rise back up to their former somewhat prioritized positions this week.  We thank you for your patience and cooperation.

If you did participate in NaNo this year, I hope you have done at least three things:
1.  Congratulate yourself for your perseverance.  Do a happy dance!  Get yourself something nice!  Eat an entire plate of onion rings without sharing!
2.  Sleep.  And catch back up on all those other things you were supposed to be doing.
3.  Tell everyone "Thank You."  This one is probably the most important, because without the support and love of the people around you, NaNo could have been so much more difficult.

That leaves it for the responsibilities.  Now for suggestions:
4.  Read back over and evaluate what you have written.  You don't have to do it now, I'm waiting until January to look at mine.  But do read back over what you produced.  Mark the holes, marvel at the wonders you produced, and...
5.  Finish the story, if what you produced in November didn't get to "The End".  Even if you don't plan on letting anyone read it, if you finish the story you will feel closure for that project.  By disciplining yourself and creating an ending that makes sense with the first part of your story, you will be perfecting your craft one sentence at a time.  Every bit of writing you do is practice, and that helps you become a better writer.
6.  As cliche as it sounds, think about what you learned this month, and consider how to use those lessons.

So here is my list of NaNo hangover remedies, filled out for me:

1. 50,005 words!
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2.  I did.   And I did a major class project due on the 3rd that I had been putting off until I made it to 50k.  And I did laundry.  And hey, my bathroom is clean!

3.  I have a big list:  I need to thank God, who gave me a creative mind and a drive to use it.  My husband gets the husband of the year award for picking up almost all of my chores in November, never guilting me for writing instead of being with him, and for nagging me when I was behind and doing other things instead of writing.  Not to mention helping me get my idea into shape in the first place.  Thank you to my extended family, for cheering me on and asking about my progress.  Thank you to my writing friends who didn't laugh at my ridiculous idea, helped me hammer it out, cheered me on, and ditto with the nagging.  Thank you to our regional MLs, who did amazing organization and production of social events along with writing their own novels this November, as well as providing general support and not yelling at us (too much) when we were noisy at write-ins or particularly slow when trying to figure out the internet.  Thank you to my non-writing friends who were patient with me when I was in my own world hunched over my laptop and understood when I said that I had to write instead of hang out.  Thank you to my employer who approved my three days of PTO in November so I could have more time to write.  Thank you to my co-workers who asked about my progress.  Thank you to my dog Linus, who, most days, realized that there was no way I could get to 50,000 words in thirty days typing with one hand and scratching his ears with another, so he gave up begging for petting and laid on my feet to keep them warm under my desk.
I'm sure I will think of more.

4.  As I said, I will be returning to this project in January.  At the end of NaNo, I tend to feel like there is only so much blood you can squeeze from a stone.  I like to give my brain time to do other things, at least for a month, until I return to working on that story.  I have a few novels to critique from my friends and some books I would like to read, as well as things to make for Christmas.  I also need to look at my feedback from my first draft of my last year's NaNo novel (it's untitled, but I'll just refer to it as "the Zombie story," look forward to hearing some more about that in upcoming posts) and get ready to do my first round of editing!

5.  I fully intend to finish my story.  50,005 words isn't nearly to "The End."  I calculated out that if I have roughly 50,000 words and I have written 17 of my 46 planned scenes (assuming I don't add any) that puts my projected final wordcount at roughly 120-130 thousand words.  That is twice what my NaNo projects have ended with in the past!  Which leads me to...

6.  I learned a bunch this November.
     a.  The amount of planning I do is proportional to the depth and length of the my story.
     b.  The amount of planning does NOT have an inverse relationship with the amount of discovery I make at the keyboard while I write.
     c.  Priorities will get you.  Make sure they are straight.   You are never safe.
     d.  It is okay to write out of sequence.  If your choice is to write the scene that you are looking forward to or the scene that you have to, that isn't really a choice.  You aren't turning this in for a grade after one go, you get to go back and change and edit and rearrange as many times as you want.  Write it in whatever order you want!
     e.  Story ideas do not come when you want them or need them.  They come on their own time.  But you can make excellent plot decisions without waiting around for inspiration.
     f.  The more I write and think about writing, the more ideas for new stories I have.  All of them are going on strips of paper into an old pickle jar on my desk, because, at least for this year, I don't want to work on the first draft of more than one story at once.  But there are a few great ones in there, and I can't wait to finish this year's first draft so I can tell you about my plans for next year's :D

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