NaNoWriMo 2019 was a month full of highs and lows for me. I set the 50k goal for myself, and though I didn’t quite make it, I ended up with the beginnings of a story that I’m falling in love with.
Whether or not you finished NaNoWriMo, coming out of November after 30 days of nonstop writing can be a bit disorientating. A writer can get exhausted from word sprints and dedication to one project. The thing is, the NaNo momentum doesn’t have to stop! Especially for those of us who haven’t finished the whole project yet.
Here are some things you can do to keep the NaNo excitement alive for the next few months.
1. Don’t Stop: Keep Writing!
This is probably the most important task. Just because November is a special month for the writers who commit to putting down 50k words, that doesn’t mean every month can’t be just as exciting.
Usually, for the 50k goal in November, you need to write an average of 1,667 words a day. That’s a pattern! And in order to meet that daily goal, it’s best to develop writing habits to make sure the writing process is consistent.
These habits will help you in the long run. If you can keep the habits (for example, writing at certain times of the day or for a certain amount of time, giving yourself rewards, etc.) going through December and into the New Year, it’ll be easier to keep chugging along on your writing project.
Soon, you’ll find that you’re writing much more material for the year leading up to the next NaNoWriMo event. But more importantly, developing consistent and stable writing habits will make writing easier overall, especially if you’re prone to writer’s block (like me).
2. Set It Aside
Once you’ve finished your NaNo project, it can be tempting to keep working and revising until you feel like it’s done. At first, that seems like the right thing to do (and I’m sure for some writers, it is). But what if I told you that setting aside your project could help you revise it in the long run?
If you stuff your first draft in a drawer somewhere for about a month, you come back to the project with fresh eyes and (hopefully) some new ideas for revision. At the very least, taking a break from the story will help it to not grow stale in your mind. Even a couple weeks can give you a fresh perspective.
3. Revise and Edit
Even though Tip #2 is important to my writing process, Tip #3 is the one that ties everything up in a neat little bow. Now that you’ve got new ideas/directions for your story to go, it’s time to put those ideas into action!
When you shift around those pieces of your draft, it’s immensely satisfying to hear them click. You’ll run into a few difficult places here and there, but once it’s figured out, you’re almost done! Editing for grammar and structural issues can be rewarding in its own right, especially since it’s the last step before…
Well, before you go through the revision process all over again.
Not gonna lie, revision can last a long time. It’s repetitive and frustrating, but it’ll also keep you busy and excited about your project.
Hopefully, these three tips will help you keep that NaNoWriMo spirit alive throughout the year! At the very least, I hope they’re as helpful to you guys as they have been to me.