Many of our dear readers, and authors, have spent November toiling away at their 50,000 words. They’ve created worlds, they’ve watched their stories unfold and their characters face daunting challenges or find the perfect love. They’ve been ecstatic when the words flowed and frustrated when the words stopped. Now that the wild ride is over, the question looming for many is: now what?
Whether you made it to the finish line or not, here are some tips to keep that momentum going.
- Keep writing.
I know this might seem obvious, but many NaNo participants find that the NaNo high wears off and they suddenly can’t find the motivation to make writing a priority anymore. If you could find the time to churn out 1667 or more words a day during November, that time is still there, you just need to give your writing the same space as you did before. Find a motivating task, like creating your own word count tracker or joining an accountability group for writers to get that daily check-in fix. However you go about it, make the time. Even if you only manage 50 words a day, it’s better than putting your story off until next November. But keep the routine going.
2. Hone your craft
Use this wind down period to reflect on areas of telling your story that really challenged you. Did you struggle with dialogue, with world building, with ‘show don’t tell’, or any other area? Use this time to improve those areas of your writing. There are so many great resources for writers, from coaches to blogs, that you can easily find something that meets your needs.
3. Don’t get discouraged.
You will very likely see other writers bragging about how easy it was to get to 50,000 words or how easy their story came together and you may start to feel like less of a writer because you didn’t have the same luck. You may even witness some ugliness online from people who found NaNo to not be enough of a challenge. Ignore it. Writers should lift each other up, not tear each other down, and sadly NaNo can bring out the worst in some writers. Congratulate them on their success and move on to your own. We all define success differently anyhow, right?
4. It’s only a rough draft
Don’t get so caught up in making your rough draft perfect. It’s not supposed to be. It is supposed to be messy and disjointed and full of run-on sentences and grammatical errors. If you made it to 50,000 words and your story is done, great! Now you can edit to your heart’s content and clean it up. If you didn’t make it to the finish line, don’t give your inner editor space just yet. For many, this is where they stop; edits need made, outlines updated, paragraphs reorganized… No. If you know this will slow you down, wait until the rough draft is finished before giving your inner editor free reign.
5. Keep it fun
Writers should enjoy writing. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make this manuscript perfect that you forget to enjoy the process. Fall in love with your characters and the world you’ve created and enjoy the ride.