The End of My Second Novel as I Know It…and I Feel…#BetaTime

What do you do after the draft of your current work in progress is done, when you’ve handed it over to a beta reader for what you hope will be the last time before you send it out? From nowhere, suddenly there are free hours, days, to fill. What to do??

Here are some things writers do with that silence, that tearing of the topic from your mind because if you think on it any more you’re going to want to add things to your novel, and you can’t. Not yet, maybe not ever, if it’s as finished as you suspect it is. Stopping is as important as starting.

If you had a book just come out in March 2020 (What’s that, you haven’t bought my book yet? Let’s fix that:, or contact me for other ways to buy), you have plenty of outreach you’d still like to do. So you do some of that, which takes courage. It’s also fun, though, connecting with folks who enjoy the arts as much as I do.

Beyond that, there are the usual suspects:

  1. Catching up with relationships. While face-to-face interaction isn’t really viable for the most part just now, I’m trying to say hey on social media or by text to those I’ve neglected. (What’s that, I could call them? What’s a phone call?)
  2. Binge watching all the things. Well, to be honest, I never stopped doing that. The muse refuses to work 24-7 even though I ask him to.
  3. Reading. There’s another area I have been doing all along, yet I’ve been able to step it up on reading friends’ projects and reviewing books, something I enjoy doing.
  4. Household projects we bought supplies for months ago now. Okay, well, we haven’t started yet, but I’ve been thinking about getting started.
  5. Fretting about which novel I will write next. I have a stack of ideas, but I know what a commitment it is to say yes to an idea, how much research it takes (years), not to mention the topic that is uppermost in my mind is going to be challenging in multiple ways. That, after I promised that my next novel would be anything but, just to give myself a break. Nope, no break here.
  6. Tweak those things that could use it: website (on the list), household organization
  7. Get on even one of those writerly projects all writers are “supposed” to do: apply for grants, write short fiction and submit, submit stuff for (possible) awards, stay in touch with writer friends (I do a decent job of that), enrich the writing community, be innovative, on and on…
  8. Personal goals – my lists have lists on that front.

I know I’m not alone in this simultaneous feeling of loss and freedom when finishing up a project.

What do you do when you get to the end of a project, writing or otherwise? Let me know!  

5 thoughts on “The End of My Second Novel as I Know It…and I Feel…#BetaTime

  1. I’m right in the middle of multiple projects so I’m fretting about how to keep energy and get them all done with style. It’s tough on either end of the rope–especially with pesky employment to an outside source keeps getting in the way…lol. You have such ability to get things done and figure things out. This time will be no different!

    1. Aw, you are ever the supportive spouse, and I am grateful!

      Maybe we sometimes take on too many projects? Is that possible? 😂

      As always, thanks for stopping by to say hi! 😍 XOXO!

  2. Congratulations on finishing your second book and getting it to your readers! That is amazing having just published Victorine!!!!

    However, I know this feeling of listless uncertainty and the overwhelming possibilities of All the Things you need to do that you’ve neglected (not that I have any published novels, but I’ve writen 7 and that feeling gets stronger and stronger every time. >_<)

    "Stopping is as important as starting" is probably one of the most profound statements regarding writing a novel I have ever heard.

    Regarding all the things you do when finishing a novel, you are just my kind of person. Productivity. Productivity. Productivity. I'm glad you included the leisurely and inspiring rewards of just reading and watching things though. Recharging is so important too. I watch TV so rarely, choosing instead to read, tinker away with drafting/revisions or draw, but my favorites lately have been Mandalorian, Hannibal, and Fleabag (OMG, so good!), you know, if you're looking for suggestions. 😉

    I have the worst time with short fiction too, so if you ever want to exchange and critique, let me know!

  3. I have a feeling you will have a book published very soon, Ashley! You’re a brilliant writer.

    I wish I watched less TV. That’s a goal of mine. I envy you that. But I’ll tuck your watching suggestions in my back pocket for sure. Thank you!

    It’s nice to have some free time to regroup, to reengage with the world.

    And yes to exchanging short stories — when I get one ready, LOL.

    Always so happy to hear from you!!

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