I just finished some major edits on my YA dystopian novel, “Black Tiger”. I’m tempted to jump into writing book two, but you know what? I kinda like this hiatus. See, when I get into a writing mode, my mind and time are locked in until that project is complete. During every one of my son’s naps, I plop down––butt in chair & coffee in hand–– and write/edit. Seriously. Nothing else gets done.
So before starting my next project, I’m trying to get caught up on, well, real life. Below, I’ve written eleven things you can (and probably should) get done before beginning your next big project.
1. Socialize. Been ignoring those phone calls and skipping out on family outings? Now’s the time to call up those good old friends and reconnect with your family. Even when I do go out with the in-laws and cousins, I’m terrible about not really being “there”. My mind is always working, always collecting ideas for the next scene. But without a project on the burner, I can finally be fully present.
2. Clean. If you’re at all like me, your house looks like a number 5 hurricane just blew through. What’s worse, the grime inside your sink hasn’t been cleaned out since the middle ages. Well, now’s the time to catch up on housecleaning. I just did a deep clean yesterday, and waking up this morning to a clutter-free, grime-free house was among one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my entire life (apart from riding an ostrich in China, but I’ll save that story for another time.)
3. Blog. Did you know I’m The World’s Worst Blogger? In case you haven’t noticed, this is the first blog I’ve written in over a month, because when I have time to write, I want to write a book, not a blog. But since I have no book in progress, blogging will do.
4. Write flash fiction. Because, why not? You have to exercise those fiction-writing muscles somehow, and you don’t want to commit to a large project just yet. Flash fiction is a story of a thousand words or less. You can whip that up in an hour or two, edit it the next day, and hey, you’ve got a story to submit to a magazine and you’ve satisfied your daily/weekly craving to write fiction.
5. Housework - Mow the grass, recycle, clean gutters, dig a grave for that body you’ve been hiding in the basement… whatever major house chore you’ve been putting off, now’s the time to do it!
6. Catch up on social media. I think I do alright on Facebook, but when it comes to “promoting” myself as an author via twitter or Pinterest, well, I kind of suck. I really, really would rather be writing. But this is the time to connect with people on social media, get to know those online friends, grow your audience and work on that writer’s platform that you’ll need when you’re published.
7. Go to the park. Whether you have dogs, kids, a spouse, pet dragon, or none of the above, going to the park is healthy and a good way to get exercise and get fresh air. Do I sound like a mom yet? I took my son to the park for the past three days and felt so incredibly refreshed afterward. The park is free and it’s fun for the whole family. Seriously. Why not go?
8. Volunteer. Now’s the time to put in a few hours of good community service. Like going to the park, it may not sound appealing at first, but after the fact, you’ll be glad you did it.
9. Watch your favorite T.V. Show. I’m currently getting caught up on The Walking Dead (season 3) and I just started Game of Thrones this week. You’ve put all that hard work into writing and editing, why not kick back and relax for a few days?
10. Read a book. Or two. Or three. Best if you read in the genre you’re writing, but really, any book will do. And reading for a writer friend gives you 50 extra points, because that’s just a nice thing to do.
11. Finally, primp yourself up. Okay, this is more for the girls. If you’re like me, you’ve probably let your fingernail polish get chipped and you can’t remember the last time you got a hair cut. Time to shave those legs, pluck that unibrow, and clip your toenails. Because, let’s face it, if you don’t do it before you begin your next project, you’ll be living proof that backward evolution does, in fact, exist.