Yes! NaNoWriMo Is Over . . . Now What?

My last guest post at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference blog today. Now that National Novel Writing Month is over, what are your next steps?

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Finally! It’s over. After thirty days of breakneck writing, it feels good to take a moment to breathe. But once you’ve done that, there are a few more things you should consider doing as this year wanes and a new one dawns on the horizon…

Finish your rough draft.

Unless you’re writing middle grade fiction, you’re going to find that most novels are not 50,000 words. YA is generally around 70,000. Contemporary fiction is about 80,000–100,000. Historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy can get up near 120,000. That’s not to say you can’t write just what you darn well please, but if you want to someday publish your novel, you need to take into account reader expectations and publisher needs. So if you found yourself at 50,000 and felt like things were just getting really good, keep drafting! If you had concluded your story around 50,000, go back to the beginning and rewrite and revise, adding details, subplots, dialogue, and whatever else you need to make your story full and rich.Keep Writing Quote

My advice? Don’t put your 50,000 words away and decide to finish the draft when the holidays are over or in the summer when you finally have some time. Push ahead and finish it now, before the fire is quenched by time and you begin to doubt yourself. Pound out the rest of that draft on the same writing schedule you’ve been keeping in November. Just get it down. It will be a great Christmas present to yourself to have it finished.

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Then go write some more!

Your NaNoWriMo Check-Up

I’m back at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference blog today, guest blogging about the dreaded midway point of National Novel Writing Month.

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Okay, NaNos, we’re just about halfway through the month. If you’ve been keeping up with the average daily word count goals, that means you’re hovering around 25,000 words right now. Good for you! If you’ve been falling behind, don’t fret—all is not lost! It ain’t over ‘til December!

If you’re stuck back at 7,845 words or if you’ve lurched ahead to 36,276 words, you have the same goal in front of you—make it to 50,000. And you have the same erin-b-realitychallenges—keeping up steam, moving your narrative forward, finishing strong. It’s as easy to get stuck at 40,000 as it is at 4,000. So how are you going to win National Novel Writing Month?

Here are a few ideas to keep you going:

Reclaim your time and double down on your efforts. Life just took over. I just don’t have the time. I thought I could fit it into my schedule, but it was just too much. NO! None of us have the time. We must all make the time. Get up earlier. Stop watching so much football. Throw your phone in a lake. Novels don’t get written because there are people out there with nothing to do. They get written because people stop making excuses and start making their dreams a reality. You can do this!

Don’t resolve anything at the end of your chapters. You propel your narrative forward the same way you propel readers forward—with tension…

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Then go write some more!

Five-Day Check-up

Well, writers, we’re five days into this NaNoWriMo thing. How are you doing? At the moment I’m sitting on 13,051 words, ahead of where I thought I’d be at this time. The secret? All that pre-writing work I did in September and October!

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If you’re falling behind, don’t give up! Do some extra brainstorming, take an hour or so off of work, and get back up on that horse! Find a big block of time on a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon where you can get away from your life and go give life to your characters.

If you’re not part of this wacky writing experiment, how is your November going? Are you enjoying the last vestiges of fall? Are you starting to fret over Christmas? Are you taking the time to eat some s’mores?

November only comes once a year (thankfully <–pun not intended) so milk it for all it’s worth!

Your NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

I’m guest blogging about National Novel Writing Month over at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference blog today.

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Are you ready? Are you stoked? Have you been brainstorming? Outlining? Researching? Dreaming? Because it is that time of year again, friends—National Novel Writing Month.

Conceived by someone who understood that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to sit that butt down in a chair and pound EBartelsout the words—and not quit when the words that yesterday were gushing forth like water from a fire hose today suddenly slow to a trickle—NaNoWriMo is about prioritizing your writing every day for just one month. The experience can be exhilarating and exhausting, frustrating and freeing, all at the same time. And if you’re thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I want to offer you a few tips and tricks to make it a success…

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Then go write!