NaNoWriMo: What now?

It was a hell of a task. 50,000 words in a month is no mean feat by any standard, but if you work full time and have evening commitments too, it doesn’t leave much space for cracking out 1,333 words a day. I wrote every day in November, and that’s a big deal for me. I’ve a knack for not seeing things through, you see. I averaged around 700 words a day, and finished the month with 21,681 words of a novel that might not be terrible. I’m pretty happy with that.

Let me qualify that last sentence a little; with some polish it might not be terrible. In it’s current state, it’s pretty terrible. I mean, I wrote it in a month! I silenced my (usually pretty vociferous) inner editor and focussed on just banging out the story. I ignored crap sentences, plot inconsistencies, lack of realistic scene setting and other such glaring issues. Every time I caught myself thinking about changing something, I had a stern word with myself, “this is a first draft. Just get it out”.

So, aside from actually finishing the thing, there’s a LOT of polishing to do. I suspect one of my months this year will have to be dedicated to this, in order to make myself commit to progressing this.

The question is, which to do first? Do I edit what I have, so I’m clearer on where I’m going and happier with the story so far? Or do I go for another brain dump of questionable quality, and polish everything up together? Hmmm…

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5 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: What now?

  1. I’m no published writer myself but I have completed NaNo on two occasions and only got around to the editing stage of one, and that’s only half finished.
    I’d say do what you prefer. I used to spend so much time ‘tinkering’ over a few chapters without anything ever being finished. Then I learnt it was much easier to just brain dump and edit later, but this takes more commitment.
    Good luck – let me know if

  2. I’m no published writer myself but I have completed NaNo on two occasions and only got around to the editing stage of one, and that’s only half finished.
    I’d say do what you prefer. I used to spend so much time ‘tinkering’ over a few chapters without anything ever being finished. Then I learnt it was much easier to just brain dump and edit later, but this takes more commitment.
    Good luck – let me know if you need any support for reading etc. Happy to help. 🙂

    • Thanks Sophie. Did you manage to finish it this year? Well done for finishing it EVER! It’s a mammoth mission, isn’t it? The brain dump seems to work well for just getting a volume of words out in a short time. I might do that again, then switch to editing mode. Much like you, I’m a tinkerer by nature and have to be strict with myself about just sitting and writing.

      That’s a really lovely offer of the reading support. Thank you. It would be lovely to get some feedback on it at some point, and I’ll happily return the favour. Fresh eyes are always worth having 🙂

  3. I’m currently writing the first draft of a novel. I’ve decided to get the story on the page and redraft and redraft after. For me, when I begun to edit my first 20,000 words I found it a deflating process without having even finishing a complete draft of the novel. I was looking at my work as a reader, and then when it was time to continue writing, i found the transistion difficult and it definelty influenced the boldness of my writing. The editor voice was too close saying (mmm.. But does that work? Will the reader understand that?’
    Im excited to edit when the final draft is complete, and re-edit, and re-edit… But for now im excited to write without a filter.

    Goodluck with your novel!

  4. Thanks so much for this – you’ve clinched it for me. I can just see me getting disillusioned with it in the editing process, then struggling to switch off editing mode again… You’ve sold me on brain dumping my way to the end of my first draft. Thanks for sharing your experience- really helped 😀

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