I Finished NaNoWriMo – Now What?

Congratulations NaNoWriMo Winner!

I met this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge with an open throttle and pedal to the floor hitting 50,000 words on Friday, November 15th. But I didn’t celebrate. I wasn’t excited at all. I still had to finish it. I was super close and had several choices, but worried about the ending. Remember, worry and doubt is death to creativity. I wrote a few thousand words late Saturday afternoon and felt somewhat better. Then I sat down Sunday and tapped out the rest. It all came together, thank God.

nanowrimo winner certificate

Will you finish soon too? Yay! So, now what?

First of all, celebrate! I’m bad at that. Instead, I did this –

Outdoor Christmas decor

Why not write a book every month?

It occurred to me that if I can write this fast, I should write a book every month or every two months, anyway. I could write at least six in 2020! A lofty goal, indeed. (Who says indeed anymore?)

The satisfaction in writing a draft of a novel is a great incentive for me. Like most writers, I had a few ideas to choose from. That’s the easy part. This year, I picked one from my hat. I knew right away that I wanted to write the other idea. Ha!

picking from a hat

I hope to write another book soon. But first…

Take a well-deserved break.

Yes, I’m taking a break. I’m catching up with blogging and The Wild Side Podcast while continuing to polish another book. We have one more family birthday to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Danny! The holidays will arrive next week with Thanksgiving. Then the wild rumpus will truly begin.

Wild Thing for Halloween

Continue to Wake Up Early

Like I mentioned before I started NaNoWriMo, I had been waking up early upon returning to the States from Europe. That head start continues to help me to check more tasks off my list. The longer morning stretches out the day. I always need more time, don’t you?

Let the manuscript rest

This is the best part! I’ll let my new book rest until after the holidays. Then, I’ll poke it a few times to wake it up from hibernation and will print it out so I’m not tempted to rewrite it on my laptop. That really slows me down. I’ll take a red pen and mark up the pages. Since it took two weeks to write it, then editing should only take a couple of days, right? Pshhh. It always takes longer. I’m sure every page will be decorated with bursts of color.

Note to self: make sure my handwriting is legible.

But, don’t get frustrated and do this…

Sheldon throwing papers gif

I will polish it up through a couple of rewrites. Then I will pass it along to my critique group and beta readers. There will be at least one more revision after that. It’s all a process but worth it.

Reflect on what you learned

Writing 50,000 words is a ton of work and a huge time commitment. Personally, I learned that I’m super competitive. Not with others at all. With myself. The first year I joined NaNoWriMo, one of my buddies cranked out a draft way over 100,000 words. There are prolific writers I will never beat. Nope. Seeing the bar graph helped spur me onward. After a few days, reaching the three thousand word daily total became a thing.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought. I managed to live my life outside the writing cave and hiked, played tennis, and even skied with family and friends.

Skiing at Breck with the fam and friends

The book I sat down to write on November 1st takes place in Maine, but it twisted and turned and became something completely different than what I intended; something a lot more complicated. Once again, pantsing as apposed to plotting and writing from an outline totally worked for me. The story still creeps into my subconscious. Suddenly, I’m back in Maine.

lighthouse gif

Will you consider participating in NaNoWriMo next year? Have you been to Maine? Have you ever been inspired by traveling?

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I finished NaNoWriMo - Now What? On a pier looking out and wondering what I'll do with this manuscript?

43 thoughts on “I Finished NaNoWriMo – Now What?

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  1. Congrats, Susie!!! That is a huge accomplishment.

    I have written a book in a month before, but I didn’t do much else. I don’t even try NaNoWriMo because November is not that great a month for me re: having a lot of time available. But I am working on a new project at the moment. Only up to 15K words, so far, but it’s starting to flow.

    Enjoy your break! And the editing. That’s my favorite part, watching the project come together and really start to be truly gooood!

    Happy Holidays!!

    Like

    1. Great to see you, Kassandra! Thank you so much. I had hesitated to join the madness since we have three birthdays and everyone comes for week at Thanksgiving. At least it’s late this year. 🙂

      Congrats on your new project! I get super excited when a project flows. Mine seems to take on a life of its own!

      At 54,000 words, I have a lot of detail to fill in and want to dig into soon. Do you fall in love with your characters? Mine have been haunting my dreams at night. I wish they wouldn’t. I need my sleep! LOL!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Kassandra, I was immediately thinking that something written so quickly will need a lot of polishing and editing, but I also agree with her comment when she says that’s the fun part. The main thing is to get the story down and then the real writing begins. You can’t rewrite or edit something if you don’t have it written yet.

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    1. Exactly!
      This one isn’t that messy and to be honest, I backtracked a few times when my plot twisted so I wouldn’t have as much work to do later. I really attribute most of it to being my sixth book. I’m still learning a ton about writing craft and always will! The beginning needs to be straightened out and most chapters need thicker layers: setting, deeper POV with attention to the character’s emotional reaction, and some general tightening. That’s the fun part like you and Kassandra said!

      I’m actually looking forward to wading into it in January! (Insert your favorite swamp gif here)

      Thanks, Anneli!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats! I will finish my started novel someday, no hurry, not worried. My comment has nothing to do with your post, but the pic of the lighthouse…I keep wondering, with the waves hitting it so hard like that, … how did they build it?

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    1. Thanks so much, Scott! And good luck to you with yout novel. I bet it will be wonderful. 🙂

      Maybe ithe lighthouse is CGI’d! They can do anything with editing these days. Otherwise, I gotta believe it was the end of a CRAZY storm! The force of the water would eventually tear it down. Right?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, and congratulations on completing NaNoWriMo.

    Isn’t it strange that some writers can have problems writing the end of a story, whereas some find the beginning difficult? I always come up with an ending and start writing a story back to it’s beginning. It’s a strange process, but it seems to work for me. It’s a little like editing from the end to the start. When I first did that, I spotted lots more errors.

    I’ve never done NaNoWriMo as I think it would cause me stress. However, I admire all you authors that participate in it.

    Congratulations, Susie.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Hugh!

      I’ve never heard of that process! So, you keep writing backward in chapter? That might be a fun writing exercise.

      The difficulty in writing beginnings or endings depends on the story for me. I start with the inciting incident or climax in mind, so the beginning and ending unfold as I write. I don’t like to spend too much time in my character’s world before it changes, so finding that sweet spot sometimes takes a couple of drafts. Because I write thrillers, I not only want to satisfy the reader, but surprise them with a twisted ending. I love the creative process and the challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I only write short stories, I don’t require chapters in most of my stories, Susie. However, I always write the ending of a story first and then work backwards to a beginning that is hopefully as good as the ending. For me, the biggest challenge is making the beginning of a story stand out and make the reader want to continue to read. After all, if the reader isn’t hooked at the beginning, then they’re unlikely ever to read the fantastic ending I have planned for them when they get to the end of the story.

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  5. wow, that is just amazing! I have just joined this site, you know how things happen while you are looking for something you get directed to another page and here i stumbled upon yours. I did not know that there was even a challenge like NaNoWriMo! wow! you are trully a great inspiration! keep going

    Like

    1. Thanks for stopping by, 1isim! Welcome to WordPress and the blogging world!

      Nanowrimo is a great way to start on any writing project. Even short stories! They also have Camp Nanowrimo in July.

      Like

  6. Congratulations on completing NaNoWriMo, Susie! I’ve participated three times and each draft eventually got published. Of course at the end of the 30 days, you have a bunch of rubbish, but after several rewrites it begins to turn into something more. I think NaNo is something every writer should try at least once. Writing 1667 words a day really isn’t that difficult.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jill!

      Yes, writing 1667 isn’t as hard as it seems. I write about 1000 words an hour, so that’s not much of a time commitment either. That said, I was a much slower typist in 2014 when I tried NaNo for the first time!

      Congratulations on your books! It should be edited well enough in the next couple of months to go out to a critique group. I’d love to find another one and keep two books going at a time! 🙂

      Like

  7. Congrats on being a NaNoWriMo winner! I totally failed and its my first year! Way to much going on and I just couldn’t find the time to devote to my draft I’ll keep working on it once the month draws out and hopefully be come sometime after Christmas. I’ve done 50,0000 words in a month before just never actually during NaNoWriMo. I know I can get the words out at any other time but there is something about tracking the amount of words I’ve written that makes it a lot harder I find. Enjoy your break and the subsiquent editing and revisions I do love the rewriting part!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Stephie!

      Does the word count seem like hiking up a mountain face? It is an insane word count and crazy way to write! The due date works for me since so much of what I do is self-motivated like writing blog posts. 🙂

      What genre do you write?

      Take your time and enjoy the process. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Like

      1. Not really i think its knowing I have to get X amount of words done a day to stay on track. I could write it easily if I wasn’t so hyper aware of how many words I need to write day to day and logging it I think its the logging it part that really gets me. I do like the due date I’ve always been a mad scramble to get things done. I write Fantasy, mainly adult though my NaNoWriMo draft was an MG/YA

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