NaNoWriMo Is Over… Now What?
by Writing Workshops Org Admin
A year ago
Phew! NaNoWriMo is over, and it’s time to take a break. Whether you “won” (aka achieved the goal of 50,000 words) or fell short of your target, chances are, you’re staring at your manuscript, wondering what to do next. Here are the steps to take now that NaNoWriMo is finished.
1) Give Yourself a Hand
Whether you hit the 50K or not, you just did something big! Consistently sitting down and carving out time to write is an accomplishment in itself. Take a moment to celebrate your achievement with a special treat. Be it a nap, a new pair of shoes, or a weekend trip to the Bahamas (take us with you, in that case?), you deserve to treat yo’ self.
2) Take a Rest
While you’re catching up on physical rest, you want to give your manuscript a rest. Don’t rush into editing right away. If there are a few scenes left to write, no worries. You’ll have plenty of time for that in later steps. Right now, you need to create an emotional separation between you and your writing. Come back to it only when you feel you can be objective about it.
3) Ready Your Mind
The way you approach your newly typed manuscript is not the same as the way you approached the initial process of writing. Because these activities are different, you need a shift in your mindset. (To learn more about the Mindset of Editing, join Jeanette’s WWD seminar on December 15th.) Remind yourself that you are now approaching the story from the perspective of a reader. You are not a writer anymore. You are a consumer who purchased this book and expects something amazing. You need to be ready to recognize what it needs to get to that point.
4) Read Your Work
No matter what stage your manuscript is in, the first step is to read what you’ve written. You may have been doing this in chunks as you continued to write each day, but this time, you need to sit down and read it beginning to end. Don’t edit during this reading, you may not end up using every part, and you don’t want to spend time editing things which don’t feed the story.
5) Find the Gaps
As you are reading your first draft all the way through, you need to be looking for gaps in the story. What scenes are missing? Where does the story not make sense? Sketch out a rough outline as you read, and make note of any parts needed to make the story cohesive and finish the narrative.
6) Eliminate the Fluff
At the same time you are looking for gaps, you need to be looking for fluff. “Fluff” are those scenes that you may like and have enjoyed writing, but they don’t serve the plot or theme of the book as a whole. Think of where you can cut down, but don’t delete these parts forever. You can repurpose them later into teaser content and social posts.
7) Keep Editing
Now, you can take your manuscript in a variety of different directions. Definitely write the missing parts and delete the extraneous scenes first to keep the plot cohesive. But after that, you can choose to have a developmental edit performed by a professional editor; you could find critique partners to get feedback, or you could start straight on the sentence-level editing if the plot is tight. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to do a minimum of basic self-editing before the final step.
8) Share Your Work
You have a finished creation to be proud of, so go and share it with the world! Whether this means seeking an agent for traditional publishing, indie or self-publishing, or submitting to contests, it’s time to get your work out into the world for all to see.
Author Bio: Jeanette is just a dictionary gal trying to make it in this picture book sort of world. She is a writer, editor, speaker, cat Instagrammer, scuba diving instructor, and staunch Oxford comma supporter. You can learn more about Jeanette and all she does by visiting www.JeanettetheWriter.com or following @JeanettetheWriter on social media.