NaNoWriMo has been done for almost a week now, and there are so many questions that come along with the end of the month, like “what’s next?” If you won (or if you were on a roll, but didn’t win), the job isn’t quite over yet. In fact, if you’re like me, you’re nowhere close to being done. No, even though our National Novel Writing Month is over, you are not done with your book. Now that NaNoWriMo is over, this is where you get to really dig in.

Now That NaNoWriMo Is Over

Is Your Draft Done?

If you’re like me (I have about 20K left in this draft), keep writing. The momentum you have from NaNoWriMo? Use it! Just because the month is over, there is no reason to stop writing. As much as  NaNoWriMo can be a stunt to write 50,000 words quickly, it can also be a great way to build a habit up. If you built your habit up so you’re writing consistently, do not drop it. Keep writing, I can’t emphasis this enough. Keep working on your story until you hit the end.

Well, then what?

After you finish the draft (or maybe you finished at 50,00 words), take some time and put that sucker away. Don’t edit it. Give the book some breathing room and move on to something else. When I finish my draft of Justice & Lies, I’ll jump right into the next book in my series, Hit List. 

I’ve mentioned it before – why it’s so important to put your work down in between drafts. You need fresh eyes to catch things like mistakes, inconsistencies, and everything else. If you go from the end back to the beginning, you’ll never get that space.

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, what should you do with that story? Click To Tweet

What You really shouldn’t do

For the love of everything important in your life, do not go and publish your NaNoWriMo book. Just don’t do it. Books written in a month are like first drafts. Messy, chaotic, wonderful, but they’re still first drafts. You need to polish that sucker before you even think about sending it to beta readers, editors, or publishers.

First drafts are a key, magical piece of the creative writing process – but they are not for the public to see. In fact, you shouldn’t share that first draft with anyone really. A good writer will be well read to be able to go back later and find what doesn’t work in terms of story and craft, without the help of anyone else. Once you’ve done what you can, that’s when you begin looking for other people.

So, to Recap

-Finish your story

-put it away and work on something else (if you don’t work on something else – I’d say wait at least a month before you go back to your NaNoWriMo project.

-then you can begin editing.

Just do not start sharing it yet. 

NaNoWriMo can be a great way to get back into writing, but what you do after NaNoWrimo can be what makes or breaks your story.