What Comes After NaNoWriMo? (One Year Later)

Okay, Wrimos, did you finish? This time last year, I thought you all were crazy. Either that, or you had a lot of time on your hands, not to mention a good dose of stick-to-it-ive-ness. In fact, I blogged about it (read it here), asking for participants’ feedback, and what I heard was intriguing. Not enough to make me want to sign up but still intriguing.

If you had told me that I, too, would sign up this year, I would have laughed and thought, When? How could I possibly think I would have the time? Actually, I would have thought that two months ago. And even after I had my initial spark of inspiration and figured I might as well take the plunge – otherwise, when else would I ever have the courage? – I still didn’t think that I would finish. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I hit 50,000 words on day 14 (read about that here), and since then, I’ve continued plugging away.

Like I said last year, November is a busy month, and this year was no exception. Actually, I think it was a little busier. It’s been an emotional month, too. The thing about NaNo and how it intersects with life is that life will never stop and be turbulence-free just because you have something to do. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but I have the feeling it’s like that for most everyone. I signed up, not because I thought that I would write the next bestseller (although I wouldn’t complain if I did) but because my life is not complete without writing fiction, and even though it can look very boring and passive to someone watching me while I work, it gives me an outlet – and makes me a happier person when I can pour my soul out through a fictional character. It can be lonely, but it can also be the safest way to meet and interact with new people, if you’re an introvert like me.

I know some non-writers will get done reading that and think, Yep, she’s crazy. She lost it somewhere back in October. I suppose I did, and I’m glad of it. To answer my own question from last year, what comes next is that I finish my book. My personal goal (after hitting 50,000 words) was to make it to 80,000 by the end of the month. I did, and I’m still nowhere close to the end. So my new goal is to write until it’s finished. It will be crap, I know, but then I can begin chipping or hacking away until something like the story it’s meant to be begins to take shape.

My biggest incentive for this is that CreateSpace is offering two free copies of every NaNoWriMo winner’s novel (check it out), and I have until the end of June to place my order. I think that’s enough time to finish it and edit – maybe even ask a couple of my awesome reader friends for some honest feedback.

Another thing that I didn’t know until I browsed nanowrimo.org is that there have been some pretty well-known novels that were published after the authors wrote them during NaNoWriMo. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants: A Novel, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Hugh Howey’s Wool. When I read The Night Circus earlier this year, I was impressed with how well the author handled the story jumping back and forth in time. I aspire to write like that, but I can promise you that her first draft wasn’t nearly so fluid. It seems like there could be some hope for me, after all.

So with November gone and another busy month ahead of me, I can not only say that I have absolutely no regrets, but it was the best writing decision I have ever made. I have no idea what next November will bring, but my writing high from the last 30 days could easily last until then, anyway.

7 thoughts on “What Comes After NaNoWriMo? (One Year Later)

  1. releaf1954 says:

    I have to admit, I was surprised when you signed up this year, after being so sure last year that it was not for you. It has been an adventure, has’t it? My novel is not finished yet, either, but I am a NaNoWriMo winner and I’m thrilled about that. Only a small percentage of the folks who sign up actually complete the challenge. Welcome to the club!

  2. […] What Comes After NaNoWriMo? (One Year Later) (fulltimewritermom.com) […]

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  6. […] For the third year now, I’ve written a post entitled “What Comes After NaNoWriMo?”, so since we’re into December now, it’s time to post this year’s version. (Read the first two here and here.) […]

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