Saturday, November 30, 2019

Year of an Indie Writer: Week 48 - The End of NaNoWriMo 2019

Scott D. Parker

Well, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo 2019. How did you do? Did you get to 50,000 words? I got mine earlier this week, but the book isn't done. So I'm charging ahead and I'll finish the book. I'd like to get it knocked out in a week, but we'll see.

But back to you. Did those 50,000 words correspond to the end of your novel? Did you fall short? Don’t worry. I’ve done all those things and more. But you might be asking the obvious question: now what?

Well, two crucial things--on opposite ends of the spectrum--must now be done, depending on your answers.

First, when you finish, CELEBRATE! You have just written a 50,000-word novel. Celebrate. Tell people about it. Post about it on Facebook. Tweet your accomplishments. Open a bottle of champagne. Seriously on that last part, do it. Ever since I completed book 2, I have sprung for a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. It is a monumental thing if you have written a novel, especially if it’s your first.

Second, if you did not finish, do not castigate yourself. Do not chastise and beat yourself up. Do not do those things. They do you no good and, in all honesty, they hamper your next writing effort. Believe me. I know this one all too well. It wasn’t until January 2013 when I again looked at the past year of not writing and finally turned myself around. I didn’t chastise myself like I had on previous New Year’s Days. Instead, I analyzed what had kept me from writing. Once those things were identified, I was able to skirt around them, avoid them, and I became a much more productive writer.

Now what?

Well, you’ve got to ask yourself a question. Did you participate in NaNoWriMo 2019 just to say you have written a novel, or did you do it because you want to keep writing stories? If it’s the former, good for you. Print it out, bind it if you want, display it proudly, and mark it off your bucket list. Mission Accomplished.

But if you found you enjoyed the process and keep doing it, you must keep writing. Seriously. Maybe NaNoWriMo 2019 took a lot out of you. That’s okay. Take a break for sure. Revel in your success. But make a plan--today--that you’ll start your next book on a certain day. My suggestion: New Year’s Day. Now that you know you can write a novel, do it again. What better way to start a new year than with a new novel. I’ve done it the past few years. It’s a great way to get past the inevitable doldrums I often get in January. It’s like the hangover for all the holidays we celebrate the last 62 days of a year. Make a plan to start a book, and then write that next book. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you decide to make January 2020 into a NaNoWriMo, but make a plan.

Ideally, you’ll finish your next book by 31 January 2020. Then, do it again. The best way to make it as a writer is to keep writing regularly. The ‘regularly’ is the key part. Writing is a muscle. It needs to be exercised to keep it in shape. And here’s the cool part: the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Even if you don’t do a true NaNoWriMo of 1667 words a day, shoot for 1000. In two months, you can have your next book written. Or a novella in 31 days.

Just keep writing. Make it a habit. If you do, you’ll discover the joy of writing, the ease of writing, and it’ll likely make you happy.

What about the book you just completed? Well, do you want to publish it? If so, get it edited. Ideally, you’d not get a friend to edit the book--unless the friend is a professional editor. Get it edited, make the changes, and then re-read the book yourself. Make those changes.

Now, get a cover. Write a book description. Create your metadata. Determine the price point. Determine your marketing strategy. Format your file. (For this, the company Draft2Digital is recommended because they’ll basically do all the formatting you need for any of the digital marketplaces.) Upload the file to the world.

But those are topics for different days.

Right now, revel in your celebration: NaNoWriMo 2019 is almost over. Congratulations. Now, don’t wait another eleven months to write your next book.

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