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Nanowrimo is over, and…

December 6, 2013

How’d you do?

Did you make your 50K in 30 days? You did?!? Awesome!

You didn’t? Kudos for trying.

Now it’s December and the month is over and it’s time to think about what comes next. Here are some questions to help in that regard:

1. Did you fall short of 50,000 words?

No problem, but there are some questions you need to ask. Is novel writing for you? There are lots of way to write outside novels. Nonfiction, poetry, short stories, technical writing, screen plays, grant proposals…the list is almost endless.

And if novel writing is for you, are you willing to put other things aside so you can work on your craft.

2. Did you make the 50,000 words?

Good for you, you have a first draft of a short novel. That’s an awesome accomplishment. And, I don’t want to discourage you, but you don’t have something you can start selling yet. This blog has recently featured Ernest Hemingway’s quote on first drafts. To put it gently, the first draft of anything can help your garden grow. Especially if this is your first first draft, it’s probably disjointed with all kinds of character and plot issues, not to mention problems with spelling, usage, and punctuation. And that’s to be expected.

You have a start, but there’s a lot of work in front of you. And while racking up the big numbers is big fun, you have to go back now and craft what you started.

3. Did you like what you did?

This is a big one. If you want to be a writer, you have to plant your butt in a seat for long periods of time and produce a lot of words. If you hated the process, maybe it’s not for you.

4. What are you going to do to get better?

While it’s true that writing is an solitary activity, no one does it alone. The path to getting better involves others. Beta readers, critique groups, workshops, and (yes) conferences. It involves books and magazines and websites. So if you’re in Florida, check out the Florida Writers Association website and see if there’s a chapter near you. If not, Google is your friend. Find some other writers and talk about the craft.

5. When is your butt’s next appointment with that chair?

Writers write. It’s what makes us writers. So do it!


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