Making the Most of Your Time between Writing Novels

You’ve just typed “The End” on the last page of your novel—maybe your very first finished manuscript. Way to go! Treat yourself to a piece (or two) of your favorite cake or pie (or both) and maybe some ice cream on the side … or perhaps a night out for dinner and a movie with your special someone. It’s worth celebrating, because it takes some grit, tenacity, and perseverance to finish a writing a story—and writing isn’t quite the glamorous job some people think it is. It can surely be enjoyable, exciting, and invigorating, but it’s still work. Thus, kudos to you for unleashing the muse in your heart!

So, after finishing your novel and celebrating that evening, the next morning arrives—and you can’t even imagine sitting down at your computer to write the first sentence of a new novel-length story (if you’re a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants author) or to start a chapter outline and/or character charts for your next heavyweight (if you like having all your ducks in a row before writing a word). What to do, what to do?

First off, relax. At this stage of the game, the only pressure comes from within yourself, so take it easy and take a breath. And if you just aren’t ready to dive into your next novel, then let your mind and imagination recycle by writing something else, something shorter and maybe even in a completely different genre.

If you’re a thriller novelist, what about penning a lighter short story or a comedic novella between full-length novels?

What about some poetry after your latest historical romance?

Maybe some song parodies in between those legal dramas?

Or how about a nonfiction article about some issue that really gets your passion stoked?

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea: the no man’s land between novels can still be a time of creative enjoyment and productivity as a writer, and all the while, your next novel is percolating down deep in your heart. Then, whether it’s a few days or even a few weeks, you’ll know when it’s time to get back to crafting a novel-length story.

In the meantime, don’t worry or get stressed about it. Stay creative with something a little off-beat for you, all the while knowing you’ll soon be back to your greatest writing passion, refreshed and ready to pen a story straight from your heart.