So NanoWriMo has come and gone. I will first speak to those of you who did not finish the target number of words, because there will be more of you. If you’re feeling disheartened, don’t. However many words you finished this month, repeat the process for as many months as necessary to finish the novel. For example, if you’ve done 10,000 words, all you need to do is repeat whatever you have done this November over the next four months and you will be done. A novel in four months is better than no novel at all.
To those of you that have finished and have received their ‘winner’ certificates, here’s a bit of a bitter pill: most of you will not be able to publish your books as they are. If you aspire to publication – and you should – then your rounds of proofreading, reviewing, editing and rewriting begin now. Since you already know the merits of a self-imposed deadline, you will set yourself a date and time by which you need to finish these things and make your manuscript ready. After that you send it out.
Another question you must ask yourself is whether you really need NaNoWriMo now. After all, there are eleven other months too which are exactly like it. So if you were able to write a first draft in November, what’s stopping you from writing another first draft in January? And March and May and July? Once you send out your manuscript to publishing houses you will find a lot of free time on your hands. What will you do with it? I suggest you write – and finish – another novel.
NaNoWriMo is great, but it’s also manufactured reality. Nowhere in the real world do you become a ‘winner’ by just finishing a task. Now that you’ve finished writing a book ‘in the lab’, as it were, see if you can write one – and many more – out on the field.
Congratulations to all of you. You have taken the first step to being a published novelist.
Sharath Komarraju is a mystery and fantasy author based in Bangalore, India. His first novel, ‘Murder in Amaravati’, was longlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Now, as he awaits the release of his third novel, ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’, due out in November 2013, he’s busy thrashing out a manuscript that doesn’t yet know what it wants to become when it grows up.
He spends most of a typical day locked up in a room talking to himself. He blogs about the writing life at http://sharathkomarraju.com/