It's a rhetorical question, really. Everyone knows that once NaNoWriMo ends we all just catch up on sleep and then go back to life as normal, right?
Only it doesn't exactly work that way. Because for a writer, the wild and wonderful month of madness that is NaNoWriMo has a direct impact on what constitutes 'normal'.
Before NaNo, we didn't have the novel that we spent the month writing. Now that it's over, we do have it. We've been on a journey, met and come to know characters we didn't know before, experienced an adventure we'd never experienced before, and learned things about ourselves as writers and people that we didn't know before.
Post-NaNo Normal is not the same thing as Pre-NaNo Normal.
So what do we do?
Obviously we can't go back to something that doesn't exist any more, so the thing to do is embrace and dive into what normal has become.
For me this year, Post-NaNo Normal means that the pesky inner editor whom I have been unable to rid myself of since finishing the editing of Son of the Shield back in July, is finally silent and subdued, leaving me free to finish the first draft of my WIP, Empathia's Hope, without her snarky fatalist input harping on every sentence, demanding perfection before allowing me to move on.
It means that I now have a completed first draft of my first independently authored steampunk novel.
I've explored character personality types that I had never explored before, and experimented with story twists I'd never worked with before.
It's opened up new ideas, new ways of looking at stories and characters.
A month of no-editing-allowed has gotten me ready to dive back into my WIP at full throttle and turn a half-finished first draft into a FINISHED first draft in short order. It's reminded me how much fun it really is to just roll with the story's adventure, leaving editing for later.
It's reminded me how much fun it is to just make stuff up and go along with it like it's all part of the plan. It's reminded me that writing was fun before it became work.
And that is something I am more than happy to go back to.
What have you taken away from NaNo2012? What are you looking forward to now that it's done?