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You Finished NaNoWriMo—Now What?


NaNoWriMo has ended, and every writer that participated has come out of hibernation with a 50,000 word novel. Congratulations! You did it! Now what? It’s time to reconnect with the outside world again, see family and friends – and make sure that little Sally hasn’t been eating the cat’s food all month. Celebrate your success with a night out for dinner or a movie. I’m sure you can still see most of the blockbusters that were released in November while you were writing.

Now What?Post NaNoWriMo. Now What?

But, what do you really do now? First of all—relax! That was a lot of writing for a month, but now you have a whole new novel. That is quite the accomplishment! The novel may even make sense, but right now, put it away for a while. After writing all those words, you’re probably sick of seeing the story. It’s okay to have feelings of resentment toward this thing you created, and may even think it sucks and want to chuck it out the window. Before you do something that drastic, let it sit while you breathe. You’ve got the holidays coming up this month, so take the time to visit with the friends and family you neglected while in your writing cave.

Make Preliminary Notes

After letting it sit for a bit, take a look at it again. Read it over with fresh eyes. Wow, did I really write that same sentence on two different pages? Make some preliminary notes on what you want to change, but don’t do your full-on edit just yet. Get a feel for what you wrote, as you may not have had time to do that as you wrote your novel. NaNo gets you writing, but it’s intense writing. Now you have the time to check it out.


Once your preliminary read-through is done, take your time to look it over with a fine-tooth comb. Refer to your notes and read each section carefully. Does it need a little more description here, or less dialogue there? How’s the grammar? This is where you want to make those changes, add some “flavor” to what you wrote. During NaNo, you’re so focused on “getting the story out” that sometimes these bits can be glossed over and missed altogether. Take the time now to add these things in. Hopefully you still have some of your coffee or tea to get you through this process.

When I do NaNo, I know that my writing suffers a bit because I’m focused on word count. A month later, I’m ready to tackle what I’ve written, see what can be salvaged, and start the editing process. I’m super proud of all of you who took part in NaNoWriMo this year, and maybe someday soon I’ll see your brand new book for sale on Amazon!

photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email:

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