This question recently came up on the IWSG Facebook page: how do you keep momentum when you finish a project? Do you move right on to the next? Take a break? For how long?
Since I just finished the draft of my new story it felt like a good time to consider the question, as I, um, flail around trying to figure out what I'm doing. The fact that I mentioned this last week and am still working on it is probably all you need to know!
Drafting a novel is a pretty intense exercise for me. I write every day, aiming for anywhere from 1000 to 3000 words, and spend a lot of my time thinking about the story, what I've missed, what comes next, trying to live inside the heads of my characters. So no big surprise that finishing always leaves me feeling... flat. This time, it seems to have also left me with a lot of thoughts about everything that's wrong with the story.
The first thing I did when I finished was take a day off. Instead of writing, I took care of business, even cleaned the house a bit. I tend to neglect the "writer biz" part of the job while I'm deep in creation, so I cleaned up the financial files, wrote some blog posts, and am trying to finish editing photos from the recent month in the mountains. That's a creative exercise, too, after all.
But at some point I have to be a *writer* again. I have to pick up a project and start writing. Since I only wait a month or two typically after finishing a draft before I begin edits, the obvious projects are short stories. At this point, I have the choice of either writing more of them, or editing more into collections, since the four collections I've put out so far feel like they've left a lot of great stories behind.
And as for all those thoughts about the novel? Part of me thinks I should ignore them until I'm ready to look at the MS again. But I think I'll note them down somewhere, to look at when I get that far, because after all, there might be some sense in some of them?
How do you handle transitions between projects--or the gap between finishing a draft and beginning revisions? Drop suggestions in the comments!
Oh, and I'm on the road again... I'll respond to comments as soon as I can!