1.) Celebrate! Personally, I ordered a giant load of sweet potato fries. Then, I called a friend and we indulged in some carrot cake and cheesecake and coffee. After that? I went to bed!
2.) Print the manuscript! Pretend it's a book. Hold it like a book. Love it like a book. The night my words came out of that printer all crisp and fresh was a beautiful night indeed.
3.) Buy a T-Shirt! Since the writing of my novel was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I bought a NaNoWriMo T-Shirt. It says I'm an author right there on the shirt...one of hundreds of thousands of people who have embarked on 30-day writing adventures over the last ten years. See below for photos of me, my manuscript and my shirt.
4.) Enjoy the holidays! My brother and sister-in-law came down from Montana to celebrate Christmas. We made fudge, played with the dogs, talked books and movies and politics and religion, shot each other with marshmallows and played chess.
(Here Andy is shown with his newly gifted marshmallow popper gun. This was before all marshmallow chaos broke loose in the Wiest household.)
(Here, at left, is shown Andy's fully loaded marshmallow popper gun. It's aimed right at my head. I have nowhere to run. Thanks, Dad, for giving my older brother something to shoot me with.)
5.) Get on with life! After the celebration, the glorious printing process, the gloating to anyone who dares ask what one's been up to lately, and the going to bed at decent hours of the night, an author needs to reintroduce herself to the real world. For me this involved watching movies again, walking to the library, writing emails and letters, regular showering, lunch with friends, and speaking in full sentences.
6.) Thank God! Seriously. I realize how blessed I am to have had this opportunity to pour myself into writing a novel for a month while living rent-free. I am grateful. I am glad my Lord gave me a love for language and a passion for stories. I am glad He is the author of my life story. How sweet is that?!
7.) Thank family and friends! Authors can be difficult people to live with and tolerate. We get awfully full of pride about our work and are always talking about our characters and the writing process. (Boring.) I am so, so, so, so, so grateful for my Mom and Dad and Andy and Marianne. They have been incredibly supportive of my crazy endeavor. Their encouragement and patience has been invaluable. Special kudos to my Mom. She was the best sounding board for all my ideas and frustrations! She was always interested and never critical. And thanks to all my friends for asking for progress reports and for giving pledges of book purchases once it hits shelves. Also, thanks to all those who have offered to read the rough draft. I know your input will be valuable in the next step of Life: Post Novel -- editing.
(The fam out on a walk with the dogs on Christmas day.)
8.) Edit! After some time away from my manuscript, I am just about ready to launch into the terrible, wonderful process of tearing my story apart and making it better. Advance thanks to my Dad for the brutal but constructive criticism I know he'll give (always with a hug).
9.) Get a real job! I've got a book about how to write an award-winning resume sitting right here beside me.
10.) Start novel number two!