|Photo credit: noodlepie on Flickr|
What to Do:
- Finish your manuscript. Assuming you haven’t already. 50,000 words isn’t always a full novel, depending on the genre and how lean your first drafts usually are. But if you didn’t finish, keep going! You’re nearly there.
- Celebrate! You deserve it! Writing 50,000 words in a month is nothing to scoff at—watch your favorite shows, read your favorite books, eat something delicious and enjoy some time with your family and friends. You’ve done something pretty fantastic, so enjoy it.
- Back up your files. No really. Go do it right now. I’ll wait.
- Make pre-edit notes. As many of you raced through that first draft, you may have some ideas already as to what will need to be adjusted or researched for and during the editing period. Write these down now, before you forget them. Because chances are, you will forget them.
What NOT to Do:
- Submit to agents or editors. A lot of agents and editors close to queries and unsolicited submissions in December both for the holidays and to avoid the NaNo rush. Do not under any circumstances be part of the NaNo rush. You’ve done something you should be proud of—you wrote a novel, or a large part of one at least. But what you have is a first draft, and first drafts need to be re-read, and revised, and ripped apart and edited to death before they’re refined enough to be submission-ready. And that takes time.
Don’t sabotage your future efforts by submitting your manuscript prematurely. Take your time to get it right and you’ll be glad you did.
- Publish. Same as the above. Take the time to get it right before you upload your book.
- Give your manuscript some space. I’ve already written about the importance of letting your manuscript cool between drafts, as well as how to read your writing objectively, so I’m not going to reiterate the whole thing here. But the short version is giving your manuscript some space allows you to develop distance from your words, which in turn makes editing much more effective.
- Edits and revisions are not optional. I basically went over this in the first bullet, but if you want to publish your work, whether traditionally or independently, editing is not optional. Ever. The only way to make your book as good as it can possibly be is to put it through extensive edits and trade with critique partners and revise revise revise. There aren’t any shortcuts in writing.
So those are my post-NaNoWriMo tips—what would you add to the list?
Now that #NaNoWriMo is over, writer @Ava_Jae shares some post-madness tips. (Click to tweet)
With #NaNoWriMo over, writer @Ava_Jae shares some dos and don'ts for your shiny new WIP. (Click to tweet)