Is winning Nanowrimo your finish line?

I hope not. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Let us look at the facts:

* To ‘win’ all you need to do is write 50,000 words, preferably in novel form, during the month of November.

* Most novels are not exactly 50,000 words long.

There you have it. By all means, don’t quit writing just because I am playing down the fact you won’t really be done on November 30th. Rather, take this as a motivational speech!

Think of what you will have accomplished during the month:

* You will have found the time to write almost every day.

* You will have the bones of a story going. With luck, perhaps even a decent arc.

* People will consider you a writer!

Now, there are a few things to consider:

* Your novel will probably be longer than 50,000 words, meaning you will still need to keep writing in December.

* Your novel is a first draft. There’s a reason why Literary Agents take vacation in December – don’t be one of the thousands of ‘wrimos who send a copy of their manifesto to every agent listed in Writer’s Digest. Plan to revise; expect to edit.

* Once you are done, set your work aside for a month and go do something with family or friends. Your National Book Award and probable Pulitzer will be waiting for you later, I’m sure. No hurry.

Come back to your novel with fresh eyes. Make it February, maybe even March. Don’t be afraid to use the phrase “Did I really write that?” It’s okay. That’s why it is a draft. Change it.

So what am I saying here? Like fine wine, your novel will take some time to mature, get better. And it will. If you let it age properly. So keep writing, and don’t focus on the finish line – focus on the finished novel.

Sending you my best wishes.

D.J. (currently at 35, 058 words and counting…)

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3 thoughts on “Is winning Nanowrimo your finish line?

  1. Good post, and I agree with the points you’ve made, especially the part about a Nano novel being a first draft. The people I’ve talked to have mostly treated their novels as drafts, coming back to edit it later, but I think there are also a lot of those who expect to have a publishable novel by November 30th and then get disappointed when reality strikes. So reminding people that revising and editing is normal and necessary (and doesn’t make you a bad writer) is important. One thing I’d like to point out is that “Did I really write that?” can also be a good thing. After letting the story rest for a while, you’ll see the bad parts, but you’ll also see the good parts and might end up surprising yourself (pleasantly!).

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