Today is November 30th which means tomorrow is December 1st.
To some of you that means something more than the start of the quick slide into the holidays. I means you have only a few hours left to finish a 50,000 word novel.
I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month for a couple reasons. One, I’m a slow writer. Two, deadlines stress me out. Three, word count isn’t usually a motivator and four, I write every day all year long so I’m sort of doing NaNoWriMo all the time. Regardless I think one of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that it gets your butt in the chair every day putting down words and that is the only way novels get written.
To quote Neil Gaiman
As we are in the waning hours I have some thoughts:
First off CONGRATS! Writing 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat. If you didn’t finish, also CONGRATS! Trying to write 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat.
Because more than finishing you STARTED something. And truth be told that is the hardest part of writing. The starting. But you did. You started a story that only you can tell. This is huge.
So now what?
Now the work continues. First things first you need to rest your creative brain. Get some sleep. Go for walks. Read and read and read and read some more. Put your book away.
Let it hibernate and percolate. Let yourself forget some of the finer points. Let the characters voices fade. Let the stress of writing a novel in one month go.
Then when you’re all rested and recharged take it out and read it. Then read it again. Then read it again. Then read it one more time just to be sure. Then edit. Then read. Then edit. Then read. Keep doing this for as long as you can. Then put it away again.
Then do the whole process over again. Read and edit. Read and edit. Trust your gut to know when it’s ready. Publishing is a sloooowwww business. It rewards patience. Let someone you trust read it. Make sure they’ll be fair and honest. Listen to them.
If what they say sounds right, make some changes. You’ll know it’s right because your gut and heart and brain will tell you it’s right even if it means killing parts you love. Don’t be afraid to go there. If you don’t think what they’re saying is right move on. This is your book. Rip it apart. Then stitch it back together.
Then read it. And read it again. And read it again. Then edit. Keep doing this over and over again until you’re done. You’ll know when you’re done. You’ll know because you’ll be exhausted and wrung out but also pleasantly satisfied because you created something from nothing.
Then read it again. Then write a query letter. Then rewrite that query letter. Show it to other people who have read it. Does that query sound like your book. Is it precise and careful. Is the voice YOURS? Rewrite it again and again.
Research agents. Really research them. Learn what they publish. Spend time on
#MSWL to learn more. Your agent is going to be your champion. You have to find the perfect one. Send out your query. Wait. Wait. Some more.
While you’re waiting, start another book.
Because the only thing you have control over is how hard you work. Work hard. Make art. Do
#nanowrimo again. Do it in July. Do it in August. Do it all the time. Keep reading. Keep writing. Everything else will is out of your control.
Make. Good. Art.
You’ve just finished 50K words and you’ve only just begun to write a novel.
Peace, love and starbursts,