After you finish your novel, no matter what shape it's in, get away from it. At least for a short while.
Okay, so you might not be able to go to Aruba, and you might not be able to take a month or two off from working on it. But try as much as possible to create some distance from the story.
Read that novel you've been putting off. Go see movies in different genres. Go to Michigan for the weekend with the family. Get in endlessly long conversations with people about subjects that bore you. Donate your time to help out the homeless and needy.
All of those things are good. Anything is good as long as it gives you a break from your story.
For me, I tend to eat, breathe, and sleep with my story. I can't turn off the ideas and the work. This is helpful when I'm working on the actual novel, but it can be problematic afterwards. For peace of mind, it's good to unplug yourself. But it's also beneficial to the novel itself.
At some point, you're going to have someone looking at your novel. And, if you're lucky, you might end up working with an editor on your work.
The more distance you can have from it will help when it comes to receiving input and starting to dive in on the edits.
Every novelist needs an editor, and every novel needs tweaking and cutting and polishing.
If you're like me, I end up submerging myself in the story near the end. Finishing means I'm finally coming up to the surface for air.
It's good to get out of creative waters for a while and just let your brain relax.
(Side note--I haven't been the best at this step the last few years as a fulltime novelist. That's one reason I hope to be successful. Not so I can count my royalties rolling in, but so I can let my brain relax and live a little life.)
Labels: tips, writing, Writing A Novel In 10 Easy Steps