Somehow, every year, National Novel Writing Month begins and ends with a single blink.
Before NaNoWriMo 2015 began, we published a post to help you reorder your priorities in preparation for the month ahead. Now that the month is coming to a close, here are three things you can do the week following this 30-day literary adventure.
Decide what’s next for your story
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a story in 30 days. Most agree that these words should be part of a new project, meaning you aren’t just writing 50,000 words of the same story you’ve already been working on for awhile. The standard novel is about 20,000 words longer than that, though. So you might have more to write. Or not. There is no right or wrong here.
After November 30, the next step is up to you. You can continue writing at the same pace, or a little slower, until you do finish your story. If you’re already finished, you can start revising. You can take a break, or start a new project while you let the finished one rest for a little while. What’s important is that you choose what comes next, and stick with it.
Congratulate a few of your fellow participants/winners (and yourself)
Everyone works hard as a NaNo participant, whether you’re doing so on an individual basis, with a few buddies or at the head of your region as an ML. Everyone deserves kudos when it’s all over, whether you’ve hit the mark or not. Writing the story itself may not be a team effort, but building each other up, even after the fact, is.
Don’t wait for your ML or a teammate to congratulate you – reach out to someone you haven’t gotten to talk with very much during your writing frenzy and wish them a job well done, just because you can. And don’t forget to celebrate your own accomplishment, too. Whether you won or didn’t quite get there this year, you tried. You deserve to be proud of that.
Take a break (you deserve it!)
You just wrote a whole bunch of words in 30 days! RELAX! Don’t push yourself to keep writing if you’re feeling burned out. It’s completely normal to feel that way after a WriMo. What you don’t want to do is unintentionally spend an entire second month sprinting without giving your brain a chance to recover from all the creative energy you’ve used up this past month.
Taking a break doesn’t have to mean you quit writing for a week or two, but even if you do (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), there are other things you can do to keep your brain awake in the meantime.
Whether you continue writing, start revising or put your book to bed for the holiday season, don’t forget to step back and really look at all those words you wrote, no matter your final word count. You’re pretty amazing.
There’s a lot we have to give up when we’re writing in a time crunch, but it’s these moments, the end of the finish line however you want to define it, that make it worth it.
Kudos to you. For real.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.