Done! Now what?

Alright, so what does a writer do when they finish a project, whether it be a novel, a stand-alone short story, article, group of poems, or any other work that has been completed? What do you do?

Here are a few ideas that seem to work for me. One thing I do is start in on something else completely different. For example, I have queries out to agents and publishers on two different novels I wrote. I am optimistic, but I'm not going to sit by the email site and wait for news. Right now I'm working on a humorous memoir - a series of fond memories of mine - about growing up weird and loving it. I'm five chapters in already, using bits and pieces of previously-published adventures, plus a few new ones. It is refreshing to step back from serious long fiction and focus on not-so-serious short non-fiction.

The other thing I do is read more than usual. Lately I've read three excellent novels:  Lowcountry Bordello by Susan BoyerBig City Heat by David Burnsworth, and Deb Richardson-Moore's debut novel The Cantaloupe Thief. I also finished a brilliant collection of short stories by Scott GouldStrangers to Temptation. Since I know all these people, it makes it more fun. And I'm about to read Makoto Fujimura's Culture Care and discuss it in a group gathering. If you're not in a book club, consider starting one.

When you need to take a hiatus from your work, finished or not, consider these suggestions. Then get back to writing again.