After reaching the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words, and having written the final scene in the novel, which doesn’t always happen during November, I am leaving the draft to marinate for a while as usual. I already know it isn’t long enough, but on the plus side, I’ve already identified at least two places in the middle where I can easily add an extra couple of thousand words without having to turn the plot inside-out. Ideally I should re-visit Berlin to confirm some geographical details, but unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen in the near future.
I’ve entered that dangerous ‘what now?’ phase in which I often do something silly to try and fill the hollow space where writing a novel usually goes. Although there is plenty of other stuff to do in December, nothing fills that space quite like writing. Last year I wrote a novella by hand in a notebook to fill this gap, and indeed I already have an idea and a page of notes for something which may or may not turn into something of that length. Earlier this year I wrote about half of a novel in a different genre from any of my other things, which is still waiting to be completed. There is also a collection of children’s stories which I made a first attempt at publishing a couple of years ago before realising they weren’t really ready. I put off editing them at the time because I lost interest, but I might add them to my to-do list again.
From now until Christmas I should theoretically be fully occupied (apart from going to work) in writing and sending Christmas cards and trying to source presents for various family members. Writing cards doesn’t sound as if it should take long, but traditionally I write letters to go with them, and indeed it almost seems like a waste of a postage stamp not to do this. In some cases I now keep in touch with people on social media through the year, so there aren’t quite so many letters to write. Of course writing letters shouldn’t really be such an onerous task for a writer, but it does seem to get harder every year! I think this is partly because I now find myself instinctively searching for the right word as I go along and doing an editing/proof-reading sweep through afterwards, almost as if I were writing for publication.
Then around Christmas itself I usually try and finalise my writing plan for the following year and do my tax return (groan). However this year, due to circumstances beyond my control, the festive season is due to be cut in half by a trip to hospital, so I will have to get at least these two tasks out of the way before that happens. There should be lots of time afterwards to sit around writing, but whether I will feel like it is another matter!