Well, the biggest writing event of the year ends today. My final word count was 72,290 and that is by far the highest word count I’ve had so far, since I first did NaNo in 2008. I did not expect my word count to be this high. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even think I’d have the time, incentive, or energy to write the novel at all – what with work, revision projects, reading, volunteering, family matters, and some semblance of a social life. But the story dragged me along and wouldn’t let me go – and that’s the important thing.

Whether you won NaNoWriMo or not, you have hopefully learned something from the experience: what your writing weaknesses and strengths are, what types of stories and characters you like writing, your preferred writing routine… etc. And whether you have the full 50k words, 100k words, or even just 10k words or less, you’ve got something to work with for the future. You can now call yourself a writer.

But I have to end with a word of warning: DO NOT send your novel to any publishers – and don’t even self-publish yet! Even though your novel may be “finished,” it’s still a rough draft. And no rough draft is good enough to send out. Most novels take years of hard work and revision before they’re ready to go out into the world. So take a break from your novel, put it in a drawer or on a flash drive for a few weeks, ignore it, then later on, take it out and see if you’d like to revise it, work with it, and get it ready for publication someday.

Even though you’ve finished your novel, finishing a rough draft is just the beginning of the adventure. 🙂 Congratulations to all the NaNoWriMo winners!

20 thoughts on “Finished!

  1. Congratulations, it’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

    I hit the official goal on the 22nd, but my own novel has refused to end. Up till now. The ending, with may take me 80k words (shudder) will happen today (11/30), by midnight, or else.

    This is my 10th NaNo, and my 9th “win”, but none of the previous competitions have been as much fun, or as easy to produce as “The Tober Chronicles”, and I’m looking forward–in the semi-far future, to cleaning this up, and making it the first of a fantasy series.

    What NaNo has really done for me this year, is to give me a break from the editing process of an earlier novel. I’m ready to get back to it now. It feels the right thing to do.


  2. Congratulations on finishing, Maggie! And thanks for putting in the advice to writers that they shouldn’t send out (or self-publish) their NaNo novels yet. Agents don’t want them until they’ve been revised, neither do publishers, and neither does the public.


  3. Great job! You schooled me in word count. And I definitely agree on taking a break before you revise.

    Also, it’s incredibly important to have other people look at your work. A fresh set of eyes can find typos you missed, grammatical errors you overlooked, plot holes you glossed over with your magical lacquer of authordom, etc.



  4. Congratulations. It’s always great when the story is pulling you along, rather than the other way around. 🙂

    And, yes, put that sucker in a drawer and let it rest for a while. Always good advice. I’m going to do that with my WIP at some point, and then I get to decide which of three other projects I’ll work on for a while.


  5. Powerful stuff Maggie and congratulations. Your words are both inspiring and on the mark. As I’ve said before, I always see parellels between the way you approach your writing and my aspirations as to how I can approach my visual art.



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