Now What? Life After NaNoWriMo

Around the world red-eyed wrimos are looking at the numbers in awe and whispering, “I contributed words to that total.” Then they look down at their NaNo manuscript with despair and groan, “But it’s all crap!”


Yup, that’s the curse of taking part in NaNoWriMo. Participants worldwide wrote a total of 2,872,682,109 words in November but many of them will disappear in December with a stroke of the delete key as frantic revisions get underway. After all, we wouldn’t want anyone to peer over our shoulder and see the caliber of writing that we threw onto the page in our November 1,667-words-a-day sprint.


Mind you, some wrote novels just for the sake of saying they wrote a novel, regardless of its quality, and they’ve already put it aside, not caring to write again until next November. But for many of us there was always the intent to carry on after November 30th and revise and refine the nucleus of a worthwhile story. We’ll take time to reflect on it, and then we’ll go back to work and start chiseling away the rough stuff to find the gems within. That’s when the real work begins.

The NaNoWriMo website has a page with tips and tidbits on the post-NaNo experience, and there’s a forum called “December and Beyond” for those who want to continue sharing the journey known as NaNo afterlife.


Me? First I have to clean grungy bathrooms, search out coffee-stained clothes to launder, check back shelves in the fridge for furry green stuff, and generally try to catch up on all the chores that were ignored during November. Oh, yes, and maybe get some sleep and start some Christmas baking.


In between I’ll be back at the keyboard. I only wrote 33,286 words last month. I have a novel to finish.

What are you working on during December?


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

13 thoughts on “Now What? Life After NaNoWriMo

  1. You may call it only 33, 286 words but that still a heck of a lot of words.. Congrats on reaching that number. It is still much further than many others would gave got…

  2. “First I have to clean grungy bathrooms, search out coffee-stained clothes to launder, check back shelves in the fridge for furry green stuff, and generally try to catch up on all the chores that were ignored during November. Oh, yes, and maybe get some sleep and start some Christmas baking.” You crack me up! Sounds a lot like my life, too!

    I started baking last night, and will decorate this weekend, I believe. Shop for stocking stuffers, write a couple of devotions to submit to a new project, and try to focus on the Man who makes it all possible.


  3. I don’t know 33,286 words! I have never participated in NaNoWriMo, but I’ve always PLANNED to do it! So see, you’re 33,286 words ahead of me. I think it’s a great exercise to push yourself. However, at my age, I am pushing myself more and more to the recliner with my feet up!
    Hugs and many blessings to you my sweet friend—and congratulations for your accomplishment!
    Love you

  4. I think I like blogging better than other writing right now. I still have a desire to finish my novel, yet I haven’t had the time to devote. I will accept that for what it is. This is a season of my life that has a first priority, the care of my husband. Blessings to you…

  5. Congratulations on your 33, 286 words! The first time I tried NaNoWriMo in 2007, I made it to 2,286 or something before giving up.

    This year, I finally won. And yes, part of the novel is crap (everything past about 30,000 words because I was in a race to the finish). But it’s a good story. And I’m already working on the cover art.

    It wasn’t just a fun exercise. This was life-changing for me. I broke down barriers that affected not just my writing, but the whole of my life. I think that’s what NaNo is really about.

    I’m spending December on vacation from the novel, focusing on Christmas. On January 1, 2011, I’m resuming work on the novel at a more comfortable pace (where I actually sleep in between).

  6. I’m very impressed. Almost 34, 000 words represents a lot of hard work. I didn’t write 34,000 words last month. I doubt I even reached 3,000. You sound like you’ve got it all figured out. Good for you.

  7. Thanks for all the encouragement! Falling short of a goal is always a disappointment, and yet I am content with the 33,000+ words. When added to what I wrote prior to November, they have moved the story almost to its conclusion.

    And Katt, I AM sitting in my recliner with my feet up — most of my writing has been done on my laptop computer. 😉

  8. Carol, 33,000 words. Sounds like a lot of words to me in a month’s time. Congrats!! Right now I’m revising a novel and have another that on the burner for revision as well. I have an idea for a new book but am not sure when I’ll start it.

    1. Thanks, Paul. The novel I’m working on will need tons of revision but that’s something I don’t mind doing. Having something new in the works is always more fun, of course, so I hope you get to your new one soon.

  9. 33,000 words is nothing to …. uh… a… aaa….. aa …atchoo!!! Oh jeez… excuse me!!!…. Sneeze at. Whew!

    “What are you working on during December?” Cover art for RECKLESS. Resuming work on the MS for ‘the next one’ & hoping to be home (for real!) for the last 17 days of the year doing nothing job related. (I’m leaving my Blackberry & company laptop in Miami. Maybe.)

  10. Dave, I’m glad to hear there’s a “next one” in the works and that you have a few weeks breathing time coming up. However, I’ll bet you can’t resist tucking that Blackberry into your pocket before you head for home. 😉

    Sandra, de-cluttering is necessary preparation. This is the perfect time of year to be reorganizing for a fresh January start, too.

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