NaNoWriMo – Where Do I Go From Here?

The end is near….! For NaNoWriMo that is. 🙂

I hope you are taking a short time out to read this and then getting back to writing, writing, writing. Now is the time you stop doing all those things that make you human and focus on finishing that novel! Stop showering, don’t run that errand to Target, don’t bother vacuuming and don’t even THINK of shopping at etsy. Just don’t do it.

Starting tomorrow you can get back to your old life. The life where you thought about things other than character development, plot twists and story arcs. But, I have a confession to make, my month of writing didn’t exactly go according to plan. While I didn’t crash and burn, I didn’t make the time to write as I should have. I can blame my lack of focus on any number of life hiccups, the truth is I dropped the ball or the pen as it were.

Moving forward

First of all – WOOHOO! YOU DID IT! YOU FINISHED YOUR NOVEL! YOU TOTALLY ROCK!:D

If this is your first attempt at completing a novel it can be just as daunting to know where to go after your first draft (yes, that’s right, first) is finally completed. Through trial, error, and much advice, here’s my list of what to do after that first draft is wrapped:

1. Walk away. Don’t even think about your novel for at least a few days. Take time to recharge your creative batteries and go for a walk, visit a museum, read, before going back to your novel. But don’t wait too long to go back or you might be tempted to fall out of the writing habit.

2. Revise, revise, revise. My favorite method is to print out my first draft (double-sided to save paper of course), choose a colored pen, and rip through my novel one page at a time correcting as I go. Then I retype my revisions, walk away, and go through my novel again to see if I can find any further discrepancies, blatant grammatical errors, or any other last minute changes I want to make.

3. Give your novel to someone else to read. Don’t give it to someone who’s going to lather you with praises. Do give it to someone (or someones) who will give you constructive criticisms that will help you hone your craft and perfect your work. This is the time a trusted writing group will come in handy.

4. Revise. Correct any worthy suggestions your critics may have made. As much as it might sting, they probably see things you missed after being so engrossed in your art for so long.

5. Develop a thick skin. After you’ve gotten your novel to a point where it’s as polished as you can make it, research agents that represent your genre (young adult, science fiction, Christian, etc.) and work on writing a query letter. Write a synopsis too if you can. The road to getting an agent isn’t an easy one for most, so don’t take it personally if your novel doesn’t get the response you’d like it to initially. Just remember even renown authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got dozens of rejections and Kathryn Stockett of The Help fame received 45 during her five years of trying to find an agent. So don’t lose hope!

But most of all, never give up on your writing dreams!

Best wishes and happy writing! 😀

  1. Sound advice. I remember reading one post regarding an agent talking about a possible spike in submissions during December/January. Yeah, it’s not a good idea to submit a NaNo novel right away.

    The finish line is near. I hope it went well for you (and that you’re not losing too much sleep).

  2. Hope you had fun with NaNo. As you know, I am truly in awe of anyone who does this. I think I would crack under the pressure!

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