Four Tips to Avoid that Post-Project Letdown

As a writer who recently finished a big personal project, a novel manuscript to be exact, I was struggling a lot with what to do next. Certainly, I have my daily professional career, so I'm not worried about that; instead, I was worried about the next step, what new writing project I would get started on, and how I would actually do that. I was in a slump for about a month after finishing this project, and during that month, I did not write a single word. I couldn't bring myself to do it. It was like the finished project somehow blocked me from moving forward.

I think I can chalk up my block to fear of the unknown.

In working through that fear, I came up with a few ideas to help me move on to my next project. I hope this list can be of some help to writers who are stuck between projects, whether they've just finished a novel or a huge freelance assignment. Please leave any other suggestions in the comments section.

Never Get Between Projects

I'm not exactly sure how well this could work, as I tend to only focus on one project at a time, but another writer, a friend of mine, suggested that I work on multiple projects at once in the future. She said that this setup could ideally allow me to immediately move onto something else as soon as another project was completed or if I got stuck. By keeping multiple projects going, I could constantly feel like I had something to do, and I wouldn't have time to think about what happens next.

Take Care of Administrative Tasks

This method actually worked for me once I realized it was a legitimate method. I began to research options for my manuscript. Should I send it to a small press? Should I seek an agent? Should I self-publish? In looking for the answers to this question, I embarked on a new project. Although it wasn't strictly a creative project, it was useful regardless because it concerned the future well-being of my manuscript.

Develop a Writing Routine

Another way to hold off the post-project writing slump is to always write routinely. I'm one of those writers who never thought this was possible; I tend to work in bursts of activity. But, in my desperation to move past my block, I began morning writing exercises: ten minutes of unedited free-writing to clear my head. And these exercises developed into longer bits, and now I have a sense of what I can do next. Of course, a lot of what I wrote was a jumbled mess, but soon it'll have focus again, and I can begin molding it into a new project. All of this is thanks to my developing a writing routine.
Read, Read, Read

Finally, I found that in my slump, I suddenly had more time to read. I put together a reading list of books I'd meant to get to, and it was like a door opened. Once I began reading, I couldn't help but want to put down the book and begin writing. Reading recharges us writers; we can't help but want to write when we read. If you're at all stuck, I suggest making a list of books to read and religiously follow that list. But be sure to keep a pen and notebook beside you for when inspiration strikes.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about accredited online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031


  1. Great post! I especially like the advice of developing a writing routine.

    I used to get up early, get my cup of coffee, and begin perusing the blogs I follow, fb, twitter, etc... BEFORE I began my writing. (A feeble attempt to get those "out-of-the-way" so to speak.) That didn't work very well. My writing began to suffer. I got so sidetracked that my time spent writing suffered.

    Making my writing time a morning priority (even if just 20 minutes) helped tremendously. I still find time to read the blogs and follow-up with fb and twitter friends between other daily tasks.

  2. Like the previous poster, I get sidetracked by other things in the morning. I take the "save the best for last" routine too far. Reading needs to be a greater priority too. Thanks for the tips.

  3. So true...developing a writing routine...really helps because no matter how much we have inside our head,even thou we know what to write but still without a writing routing we wont be able to put the words across properly...thanks for the tip

  4. Hemingway often wrote letters to friends to "warm up" for the day's work ahead. He truly believed it helped.


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