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Post-NaNoWriMo: What Now?

So you’ve done it! Whether it was a page, 10,000 words, or a complete manuscript, you successfully completed another year of NaNoWriMo… now what?

First of all, take a break! You just spent the entire month of November, that’s 30 days, plugging away at your novel, and this is something you should be very proud of. So reward yourself: whether it is catching up on some pleasure reading, binge-watching Netflix, or getting a jump start on the holiday shopping season, take some time away from your manuscript. Every great writer needs downtime, and by walking away for a bit, when you come back you will be able to read your story with a clear mind and a fresh perspective.

You can also use this time to find some events going on in your local bookstore and talk to people in the book community. Attend local author events and, when possible, ask them questions about their writing process for helpful hints. Also, befriend your local bookseller to pick their brains, when possible, about the publishing process. These people have been through it and know what they are looking for when buying books, so take advantage of this opportunity. Since editors aren’t readily available to share advice with you, your local bookseller is the next best thing!

And once you’re caught up on some R&R, it is time to edit! Maybe the amazing monologue you wrote suddenly seems to drone on, or maybe a certain scene wasn’t as essential to the plot as you original thought it would be, and that’s all OK. Writing is a process, and even the great writers will tell you that editing is an important part of the process (don’t believe me? Just check out all the great quotes on editing via Goodreads).

This could also be a great time to meet up with your local NaNoWriMo community and review each other’s shutterstock_104902844 (1)manuscripts. Maybe during the month of November you didn’t have the time, or didn’t think your manuscript was ready, but eventually someone else has to read your writing, and the more feedback you can get, the better! By combining other people’s editing notes with your own, the editing process will go that much smoother and faster.

And not only is post-NaNoWriMo a good time to edit, but it’s also a good time to dive into new material as well! As writers, our minds are constantly thinking up new ideas and stories, and now is the time to get those thoughts on paper. Of course the manuscript you worked so hard on for the month of November is your main priority, but use this following month to get some other ideas out on paper before you forget them! Also, if you are feeling frustrated with your manuscript, or having trouble getting the juices flowing again, working on another creative project is a great way to keep you motivated.

No matter how you decide to spend your December month, don’t give up on the NaNoWriMo novel you worked so diligently on. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your novel be. So keep at it Swooners, and let us know how you’re spending your time, both working on and away from your manuscript, post-NaNoWriMo.

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Erin Carroll

Born and raised on the Jersey Shore, I always had a fascination with NYC and books, and now I get …

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