Like many writers, new and experienced, you may be gearing up for a dedicated writing month in November, eager to crack that 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo. Good luck! I hope you nail it. I hope you hit 50,000 words with days to spare.
The fun thing about NaNoWriMo and setting a big writing goal is that it should help you develop new or improved habits. If you manage to write every day for a month, make sure you’ve got plans to keep writing afterward. Don’t drop your 50,000 word start of a novel into a drawer and wait until next year.
Writing is a long-term race, but the NaNo sprint can get you off to a great start. Now push on to the finish. 50,000 words should equate to roughly half a regular novel. It’s about a quarter to a third of one of mine. It’s long enough to be a significant portion of a finished draft.
If you’re a pantser, you should have wandered through the fog far enough to maybe have an inkling of the ending. At the least, you’ll understand major characters, important scenes, and the most compelling conflicts. All of these components can now be fine-tuned and targeted toward a high-powered conclusion.
If you’re an outliner, you should be far along the track you planned. By now you know whether or not the outline was spot on, or spotty. If everything is firing as planned, keep charging ahead to that elegant, rewarding conclusion you’ve already envisioned. If your journey through NaNo has identified flaws in the outline, this is a great time to pause, reconsider, rework, and retarget.
I hope your goal is completing a novel. NaNo offers a wonderful opportunity to plow through much of the rough first draft, generating excitement for the revisions and edits to come. The story is what’s important, and it’s our job to keep working that manuscript until we tell the real story, including everything we need to make it compelling, while stripping out all the excess baggage that just gets in the way.
So enjoy NaNo. Hit your goal. Then keep going.
I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.
(This post featured also on the Fictorians here. Check it out, along with other excellent posts regarding NaNoWriMo this month)