Friday, November 11, 2011

Tips for After NaNoWriMo

It's that time of the year again, November, when thousands upon thousands of aspiring writers bang away at their keyboards, aiming to write 50,000 words for the challenge that is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. That’s about 1,666 words a day – the devil’s number.

"Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you're allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. "
~ Charles Bukowski

(Humor me. Change the word drinking to writing.)

So, go ahead, grab the tail of devil, slam down a proverbial shot or two (for those of you who inspire to be as prolific as Bukowski) and get writing. Personally, I think NaNoWriMo is a great way to get those creative juices flowing. But you have to remember, once the buzz has worn off, and NaNoWriMo ends, the real work begins.

It’s time to sober up, to take those beer goggles off and ask yourself: is this manuscript as good looking as I think it is?

If you’re honest with yourself, you know it’s time for a little writing rehab. That baby is one hot mess. She needs to be cleaned up.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Rather than going for the hair of the dog in December, there is only one way to cure a word hangover: take a little break, if not for you, for your manuscript. Once your head is clear, it’s time to edit, to polish, and then edit again. You may even want to call in some support for early feedback – beta readers, the AA of writers. And then it’s time to edit and to polish and edit again.

Please, don’t fall of the wagon! If you query too early or decide to self-publish, say in December, your manuscript will find itself on that embarrassing road called Rejection, or worse, stumbling down the walk of shame!

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo this year. But I have done it in the past and I was proud of my accomplishment. I also scrapped most of what I’d written, keeping only what worked. In my case, it was about 50%. But 50% of something was better than nothing. For me, the purpose of the challenge wasn’t to complete a finished manuscript in record time. No, simply put, I signed up for NaNoWriMo to accomplish three things: to improve my craft, to join a network and support like minded individuals, and, most importantly, to write.

For those of you who are doing the challenge this year, I’m raising a glass of champagne in your honor –  writing 50,000 words is no easy task. Cheers and good luck! And, most of all, have fun!

It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.” -Charles Baudelaire

If this post has left you thirsty for more NaNoWriMo inspiration, check out the following links.

1) Chuck, at Terrible Minds, has written a list of NaNoWriMo do’s and don’t’s. You’ll leave his post ready, and I quote, to rock NaNoWriMo’s face off.

2) Get inspired. Check out this YouTube video, I am the very model of a NaNoWriMo individual, complete with a chorus of singing animal puppets. It’s ridiculously awesome! (And, yes, that was an adverb.)

3) Stay positive! Ignore the naysayers!

 Thanks for having me, Misha. Meet you at the bar for happy hour in December???

Sounds great! Just say when and where. ;-) Thanks for the great advice, Samantha!


  1. What a great post! Love the drinking/writing analogy, so accurate LOL.

  2. I did this last June and it was a great challenge. Funny post!

  3. Great post. Unfortunately, I am not doing NaNo this year.

  4. Hemingway and Bukowski in the same post? Hell yes.

  5. Thanks, everybody. It was a fun post to write. Believe it or not, I did NOT have a drink in hand! And, thanks again, Misha!

  6. What exactly is meant by the term "one hot mess"? I struggle with it's definition. Is it something dirty? Or does it imply that someone hot has a lot of emotional baggage and whininess associated with other words...high maintenance?

  7. I like the humour here, Miss Verant is quite a writer herself.

  8. Ahahahahahahaha Too funny,Samantha. Hemingway and Bukowski. Uh, yeah. Sriously. Excellent post.

    Hey Misha! *waving*


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