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The Between-Draft Dilemma

You've just finished the draft of a novel, and you know you need to set it aside to get some distance before you plunge into your next revision. But how do you occupy your time while that draft is cooling? Here are 10 things to do when between drafts.

  1. Update your online presence. Freshen up your website, write a few blog posts, check back in on any social media accounts you've neglected lately. Your online connections are writers' gold, so keep them alive.

  2. Take a writing course. Get inspired by taking an online writing course. Check out C.S. Lakin's many excellent craft courses on Writing for Life Workshops. Author Mary Buckham offers fantastic courses, as well.

  3. Read a writing craft book. My current favorite is Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It) by Janice Hardy.

  4. Read in your genre. As you read, take notes on everything from length of chapters to how the author drops in backstory.

  5. Read outside your genre. Do you write women's fiction? Then shake things up by reading a sci-fi novel, a thriller, or a graphic novel.

  6. Research a topic of interest. Spark your imagination by doing a deep dive into a topic that interests you. You never know when your next big idea will hit! Speaking of which...

  7. Brainstorm ideas for new projects. I keep an idea file on my laptop and add to it as new ideas strike. As an exercise, try juxtaposing two of your ideas and see if synergy develops.

  8. Rekindle your friendships. When we're in the midst of a writing project, it's easy to let our relationships slide. Set up a coffee or walking date with a friend and catch up.

  9. Have an adventure. It's easy to get stuck in a routine of sitting at the desk. Take an excursion, large or small, and try something new. Walk on a beach, stroll in a garden, ride a roller coaster.

  10. Rest. You've just completed a Herculean task. Nap. Sunbathe. Take a bubble bath. You deserve it!

What do you like to do when you're between drafts?

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