One of the reasons I decided to try for a NaNo novel this year was because I wanted to force myself to break free of the “imaginary audience” we writers write for. My word count stayed put whenever I thought about whether or not my reader would be bored, and my word count skyrocketed when I reminded myself no one would ever see this draft.
For me, it wasn’t that hard to get into that mindset of the invisible draft to keep up my daily goal. At least not after the hump of week two. But now that NaNo’s over, I’m no longer squeezed in the fist of a deadline. I don’t have to write 1,667 words a day.
But the novel’s not done!
And even though the story’s keeping me entertained, I find myself slacking off more and more each day. I’ve begun to procrastinate for an end that doesn’t seem to exist. Obviously I want to have this novel finished by mid-December, for the holidays, and I have a revised novel waiting on the shelf for me to get it all dressed up for its journey to the slushpile. I don’t have time to get off the train for a leisure tour.
I know I can’t be the only one to suffer from the post-NaNo blues. We embarked on a cross-country road trip and we made it all the way from our hometown to that big gold star on the other side of the map and we’re like “woooo!”
But then it hits us: we still have to drive back.
And everyone’s quit their job.
And sold their homes.
And decided to go vagabond.
For me, this means the imaginary audience has returned and my mind is months in the future, trying to revise the story I haven’t even finished writing yet.
I guess this is the moment of truth, the test to prove whether or not I really learned anything from my NaNoWriMo journey.
My new deadline is Tuesday, December 20th, and my goal is to finish what I started.
Screw you imaginary audience, I have work to do.