This is the last in my series on NaNoWriMo! I hope this has been helpful and inspirational. I strongly encourage anyone considering participating in National Novel Writing Month this November to read Chris Baty’s excellent book, No Plot? No Problem! for even more helpful tips.
10. When the clock strikes midnight on December 1st, you’re done, whether you finished your 50,000 words or not and whether your story ended at that 50,000 word mark or not. Congratulations, no matter how you did! And realize that what you produced, I’m sorry to say, is not good. It’s not a finished product. It’s a hurried exercise is quantity over quality, and that’s okay. It’s all about the process, after all, and it’s all about establishing a writing discipline. A professionally written, edited, purchased and further edited and published novel takes far, far longer than thirty days to create, regardless of the author, the publisher, and the editing team. It’s just a fact of the business and the art form. No matter how tempted you may be by today’s technology, do not hit “submit” on a self-publishing platform with this first draft of this first book that you wrote in thirty days. It isn’t even the best version of this particular work you could produce. Set your manuscript aside for another month at the very least and return to it in January or February with clearer eyes and a healthy supply of red pens. Show the draft to multiple people. And then once you and all your beta readers have had a go at it, fix it. Fix it lots. If you still want to seek publication, go for it, but it should be your second, third, fourth draft, and it should probably be longer by at least ten or twenty thousand more words, minimum. It’s also okay if this first effort never gets farther than your own computer. The point is the work itself, the practice, the exercise. The point is that now you can say the following: you wrote a novel in thirty days, or you made the attempt. You know that about yourself now. What are you going to do with that knowledge? How will you let this shape your writing life going forward? And are you going to give it another shot next year?
Check through my other writing advice tags for the entire series and other pointers for making your fiction better.