Friday, 8 February 2013

After The End


So you've written your words (and edited them, naturally).

You may have stories included in an anthology or posted on a blog; you may have novels published and eager to meet willing readers. You may even have lists of jokes so funny that they carry a government health warning.

And, while the temptation is to focus all your attention on your next literary project, don't forget there's other work to be done.

I give you...things to do when you're done writing.

Nuture your blog.
No, not just the acquisition of oodles of followers and comments. Recheck your posts for spelling aand grammatical errors - your blog is your calling card and your shop window. Speaking of windows, does the blog need freshening up a little? Gadgets can enhance your blog and encourage an audience to spend more time there. Share buttons are a must. Lastly, and sinisterly, remember to keep on top of those pesky spammers. Ensure your settings prevent unwanted anonymous posts that try and flood the world with viagra.

Check your notebooks.
Remember that special cupboard full of gems? There may indeed be treasure in them thar pages. When I came to edit my fantasy, Covenant, I wasn't sure who one of the early characters reincarnated as. In fact, I was planning to create a new character specially. Only when I dug out some notebooks and managed to decipher my own writing (another tip - write notes so they can be read!) did I discover who the mystery person had ceome - and why. Well done me of 2004 - I take my hat off to you.

Do some general spring-cleaning.
I've found that completing a long piece of writing can be likened to concluding a relationship. You're sad, of course, and wistful about what might have been. But you're also ready for a fresh start, itching to begin a new chapter of your life. Clearing the decks - and thinning out the bookshelves - can be remarkably therapeutic for your writing.

If your book is published, or even if it's unpublished but finalised as far as you're concerned, get rid of the old versions. If you have a final version that you're truly happy with (in comparison to the others), why would you need any other?

Take a break from yourself.
A day, a week, a different chair to sit in and write. Change the pattern, change your writing pattern, wear a hat (again with the hats...) - anything to signify to yourself that this new piece of writing is a thing apart and stands on its own merit. (Changing genre can be good for that too.)


And once you've tried all of the above - and anything else you can think of to breathe new vitality into your writing practice, get writing. Those books won't write themselves, you know!

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