To the writer that finished what you set out to write,
You are a rock star! You did everything you set out to do this month. You’ve got a complete first draft in your hand right now, a whole book, and if lots of people never start a novel, and less than that ever write 50,000 words of one, the number that actually finish an entire book is less still. You did it.
You wrote an entire book. In a month! You’re not just one of those people who say they’re going write a book someday, you just made someday today like a freaking boss. Do you realize how great that is? If I could high-five you through this blog right now, I’d be doing it because, dang, you are so freaking awesome, I can’t even with you right now.
Yes, it’s messy, and maybe it’s not exactly how you envisioned it going. Maybe you accidentally killed Dave twice, and maybe you’re pretty sure you’re going to be rewriting that whole middle and making the monkey the antagonist, but all of that can be fixed later when you edit it. There’s even something beautiful about the fact that you’ve got something to edit later, isn’t there, no matter how much you’re dreading it? Because now you’ve got a real story, even if it’s a messy one, and you can clean that up into something amazing. And make no mistake, you’ve got editing and cleaning up to do, no matter how meticulous a writer you may think you are. There is no such thing as a perfect first draft.
Maybe you’re super excited about editing, or maybe you’re dreading it with the white-hot fires of Mordor. Either way, diving into it right away is a bad idea. To give yourself the best chance of succeeding, there’s a right way of going about this, and I’m going to walk you through it to give you the best chance of success.
I’m not going to pump you full of meaningless platitudes and writing generalities because those aren’t useful to anyone. Instead, we’re going to be practical and get down to exactly what you need to do to move forward, no matter what your future writing goals are. You accomplished something by signing up for NaNoWriMo, and now it’s time to build that into something much bigger.