Whether your draft is complete or you still have further plot twists to add, April’s 30-Day Finish is an ideal opportunity to refresh your creative energies. The 60-Day Edit will run more smoothly if you bring a fresh mind and crisp focus to your manuscript. Here are 5 ways you can revive your mojo:
1) Read something you loved as a child.
Whether you realize it or not, those childhood tales had a profound impact on your current writing ambitions. Revisit a book you adored to reignite your enthusiasm for skillful storytelling, and know that you can bring this same joy to your own audience.
2) Indulge in a tangential creative hobby.
Even if writing is your main form of artistic expression, you’ll boost your energy and originality by sketching, singing, dancing, sewing, coloring or dabbling in any number of innovative activities. And there’s no pressure here to produce something of acceptable quality: view this as pure fun and enjoy the process, not the results. If you’re unsure which additional hobby to try, consider bullet journaling and check out the BuJo Group in the 85K Writing Challenge forums.
3) Move your body.
Chances are, you spent a little too much time hunched over a screen during the 90-Day Write. As a minimum, move and stretch your joints and make a conscious effort to focus your eyes on distant objects. Ideally, use your non-dominant hand for a few tasks. Not only does this give your favored hand a break, but it will slow you down just enough to make daily activities more mindful. Best of all, get outside: the fresh air will revive both body and soul. In fact, a 2012 study showed that a hiking trip boosted creativity by 47 percent.
But, if the grip of winter makes al fresco treks impossible, fear not, a Stanford study found walking inside is still beneficial.
4) Catch up with non-writing friends.
Did you neglect any social interactions during the 90-Day Write? Or perhaps your discussions in the 85K Writing Challenge forums were focused solely on your novel? Make the effort to reach out and rekindle the relationships you value. As psychologist Susan Pinker asserts in this Ted Talk, face-to-face interactions may drive both health and longevity. And in order to finish not just this novel, but your next, and the one after, you’ll need both those things.
5) Thank someone.
There was almost certainly a friend or family member who offered moral support or practical help during your three months of heads-down writing. Take the time now to show your appreciation, either by reciprocating or with a small gift and thoughtful note. Not only is it the appropriate thing to do, but as you head into the 60-Day Edit, you may need an additional helping hand.
Every student of musical theory knows that the pauses are just as important as the notes. Give yourself the benefit of an intentional pause in order to recharge and prepare for the next phase of the 85K Writing Challenge.
About Pauline Wiles
Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels and creator of the Serenity Project. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running. Get more tips for serene productivity at paulinewiles.com/serenity-project/.