NaNoWriMo Wrap-up: Moving Forward

Moving Forward with Knitting
Yes, you can knit a small shawl in 24 days
Okay, everyone’s had a few days to recover now. I opted to spend the last couple of days reading, knitting and watching television with my husband. There were also a few things, such as laundry, which had stacked up over the last five days of November. Amazing how four days off from work doesn’t seem enough time to actually accomplish things. Except the writing we did.

So NaNo has passed and if you’re a winner, you’ve at least taken a peak at your winner goodies. If you didn’t validate 50,000 words, you’re probably either swearing that you’re never going to do this again or figuring out how you’re going to cross that finish line next time. For both of these, it’s probably best not to linger on them longer than this weekend, because now we should be all about moving forward.

Reclaiming Your Life

Yes, you can watch television, put up the holiday decorations, bake cookies. It’s good to devote ourselves to our writing for a solid 30 days, but a writer does not live by the keyboard alone. They need to, well, live — connect with the world and the people in it. If you’ve been on a roll, it’s very tempting to push yourself to keep going, but we all need a break every once in a while. Take one this weekend. Put your story in the back of your mind where it can age like fine wine and treat yourself to something. See a movie, visit friends, go shopping. On second thought, don’t go near the mall; the idea is to avoid stressing yourself out.

Aside from putting our outdoor Xmas lights up, I’m planning on doing some baking and spend some quality time knitting. Wednesday, I impulsively decided at 3 PM to join Anna Dalvi’s Advent KALendar shawl. By 5:30 PM, I’d gotten home from work, grabbed two yarns and cast on. Before I went to bed, I’d gotten through both the Day 1 and Day 2 clues. Of course, I ended up deciding the contrasting yarn I’d chosen didn’t work, so last night I frogged, chose a new contrast and knit Day 1 and 2 again, then started on Day 3 while catching up on Elementary. You can see my progress on my Ravelry Project Page, and I’ll post updates through the month. I’ve got until Christmas Eve to finish this shawlette, which will be a nice little treat.

Reclaiming Your Writing

But even as you let yourself get reaquainted with the people you share your life with after chaining yourself to the keyboard, we need to not let that momentmum slip completely away. We are writers; we need to write. So, in the middle of enjoying yourself, carve out fifteen minutes to scribble down a new idea or half an hour to do some revisions on something other than what you’ve been working. If your book isn’t finished, do some writing at a pace that’s comfortable to you. It’s important to rest so the mind and muscles restore themselves, but too long isn’t good, either. If you’ve taken a day or two, get back to the keyboard for just a little bit today; you’ll find that even if you’re writing at slower pace than you did in November, it may be faster than what you were used to before. Don’t push, but let the speed come.

Here’s another suggestion: this weekend, when you write, write just for the joy of it. Don’t worry about how it sounds, if you finish or even if it makes sense at all. Write for yourself and have fun with the words. We do this because getting words done makes us happy. If NaNoWriMo left you feeling a bit stressed about your writing, time to rediscover the joy, because that joy is very much a part of moving forward.

So, what are you going to do for yourself this weekend?