Sunday, July 20, 2014

Seven Things To Do After You Finish Writing Your Book

After chaining myself to my desk last month to get the latest revision of my forthcoming suspense novel, “client-ready” (i.e., ready for beta reading), I pretty much collapsed on my couch when it was all over.  I also felt a bit at loose ends.  For months, this book had consumed pretty much waking hour, so I had to readjust to life on the “outside.”

So what do you do when you no longer have a book to write?  Read on:
Do Nothing
No, really.  “Do nothing” can come in the form of flopping on the couch to stare mindlessly at a “Law and Order” marathon for a few hours (doesn’t matter which entry in the franchise you go with, any one will do), clearing out all those “Real Housewives” episodes out of your DVR, laying by the pool or dozing off in a lawn chair in your backyard.  Shut down your brain and let it recharge for a minute.

Clean the House
Remember that scene in “Romancing the Stone” when Kathleen Turner’s novelist character is so engrossed in finishing the draft of her book, she lets her house go to pot?  Yeah, that was pretty much the situation at mi casa.   Busting out the Mr. Clean and Clorox wipes was therapeutic and I can once again see my reflection in the mirror.

Get out of the House
By now, you’re likely sick of looking at your four walls (even if they are finally clean) and you need to get away.  Go to a movie, get a massage, hit the beach – whatever – just escape your computer for a while.  You’ll be back in front of it soon enough.

Reconnect with Friends and Family
Your relationships have probably taken a back seat during the final push to get the book done, so spend some quality time with friends and family before you descend back into the madness of the next book. 

Start the Next Book
Speaking of, start the next book.  I let a about a week or so pass before picking up my laptop and delving into my next manuscript.  It’s been fun getting to know a whole new set of characters and tapping into some new and different ideas and storylines.  Not to mention, it’s given me a few ideas for revisions to the previous manuscript when it gets out of beta.

Read a Book
Of course as writers, we should always be reading.  However, take this time to read something completely frivolous or totally opposite of what you normally read.  After reading a string of dark and twisted suspense books (“Silence of the Lambs,” “Dark Places,” and “The Dinner” among them), I’m currently splashing around in “Skinnydipping,” by Bethenny Frankel.  It’s the perfect, frothy little cocktail for me right now.  Next up, I’ll be reading Andy Cohen’s autobiography, before going all dark again with “The Little Friend,” by Donna Tart.

Work on Your Marketing
Update your web site, add to your Pinterest boards, throw out some pithy tweets, lay out your promotional plan for the next book.  This is a great time to work on all those marketing activities that fell by the wayside while you were on manuscript fumes.  I just spent some time working on a complete overhaul of my website and I’ve been having a ball.

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