GUEST POST: NaNoWriMo – What Happens Now?

By D.A. Smith

You’re reading this because you just spent 30 days working on a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo, and time is up. Congratulations! You wrote an average of 1,667 words per day, in November. This was no small feat. Especially, if you have a full-time gig or a family to tend to.

Now, that NaNoWriMo is over you may be wondering, what’s next? Just because, December 1st is fast approaching that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook. There’s still plenty of work left to do.

Here’s what you could be doing now that NaNoWriMo is officially over.

Rest Your Manuscript (and Take a Break Yourself):

Most writers that complete their first drafts may be itching to publish it. Edits, rewrites, revisions, and so on are necessary to clean up your novel. But, it’s a good idea to let your first draft rest. There’s no set amount of time for how long you need the novel to rest. Some authors recommend about two weeks.

You need time to forget what you wrote. So, go on, step away from the novel.

In the meantime, return to your other hobbies. Write a blog post mentioning your NaNoWriMo accomplishments. How about grabbing some fresh air? Spending time with friends or your fur babies, (they missed you) will help keep you preoccupied on.

 After that you can return to your manuscript with fresh eyes.

Now, that you’re back in front of your manuscript, you feel like it is time to publish it.

Traditional or Self Publishing:

If you’ve been in the NaNoWriMo or writing game for years. You know publishing rules have changed.

Thanks to self-publishing, your draft can go from computer screen to Kindle in less time than it took to write it. But, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time, and searching for a publisher to work with you and your novel. The method you decide to approach when publishing is up to you.

But, here’s the skinny on both methods.

Traditional publishing involves submitting a query with a clean manuscript to an agent or publishing house for them to determine you for publication. Due to the tedious nature of this process, there are usually wait times, and the odds of receiving a rejection the first time you query is high. This should not deter you from traditional publishing. It just requires effort and patience like most good things.

Self publishing has some advantages over traditional publishing. For one, no gatekeepers (unless you count publishing software), and the wait times can be on your schedule. Creating a completed novel that is not only professional and entertaining, but visually outstanding still requires hard work. Self publishing requires more effort on the author’s part. Novels need to be edited (professionally), covers designed, books marketed, and that takes time and resources.  

If you feel overwhelmed, there are other ways to get your novel in readers’ hands.

Enter A Contest:

Your novel could be featured in a popular literary magazine and there may be a cash prize involved, if you enter a contest. Even if you don’t win, you can always use the contest as a platform to network and help you gain confidence to keep sharing your work.

Need more info on contests? Check out websites like Poets &Writers, Writer’s Digests, or other reputable literary magazines for contests submission guidelines around the Web.

If you’re not interested in entering a contest, consider the following.

Share Your Work for Free:

You wrote this novel. Cleaned it up. And, you didn’t get accepted by a publisher or win that contest with the cash prize. Should you give up and delete the novel?


Always be flexible.

Keep it and share it online for free. You’ve already given the world a glimpse of your work through NaNoWriMo. All you need to do is transfer the novel to your own platform. You can present it through a blog, email newsletter, or even websites like Wattpad.

Never be afraid to share your work. There will always be readers for your writing. And, you never know, you might grab the attention of an influencer.

There’s one more thing you can do…

Prepare for Next Year’s NaNoWriMo:

Start plotting your next novel. Build a following through social media. NaNoWriMo may be a year away, but you’ll be ready when itreturns.

My hope is that these tips above helps you get over the NaNoWriMo blues. Thanks for reading!

A special thanks to Sophie Li for graciously allowing D. A. Smith to share this guest post with her fantastic followers.

A little bit about D. A. Smith, she’s a blogger on D. A. Smith Writes, the author of Stolen by the Ash: A Fox Shifters Short Story, and she is an avid lover of anime, sci-fi, and all things wolves.

24 responses to “GUEST POST: NaNoWriMo – What Happens Now?”

  1. So happy with it 🙂 Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem 🙂 Great post!


  2. Well I didn’t manage to write 50K words this year for NaNo but I still have a solid plan for what I’m going to do next when it comes to my WIP. 🙂 I’ve never really thought about publishing or self publishing but it’s something to bear in mind for the future. Either way whenever I’ve finished NaNoWriMo I always take a break from writing for a month (largely to catch up on reading and blogging again) but then I re-write and re-edit and re-prepare for next years NaNoWriMo.
    Great post, very appropriate for now November is over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading! It’s always good idea to take a vacation after a such a busy assignment as NaNoWriMo. Keep up the great work reading and blogging (trust me it is tough work) 😁😥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and yeah if I keep trying to focus on my WIP the same amount as I did during NaNo I’d burn out pretty quickly. 🙂 Thanks, definitely tough work you’re right! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Yay that’s awesome that you have a solid plan! I’d say that is the most essential part 🙂
      It’s nice to take some time off after Nanowrimo to catch up on reading and writing (and life!) I’ve definitely taken a step back when it comes to writing and getting acquainted with other parts of my life again haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely, I feel like I work better when I have a plan and mini deadlines to keep me motivated. 🙂
        Yep, and I have a lot of reading and blogging (and life with Christmas coming up!) to catch up on. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m currently taking a break from what I wrote. I MIGHT try and start editing during my Christmas travels, or come January. I don’t sweat it. But I am super pumped about what’s next. Thanks for laying out all the options.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds like a great plan! After all the great work you’ve done on your Nano novel, you absolutely deserve a break! I also like to take 4 weeks or longer before jumping into the editing stage, just to give myself some time to “forget” about my novel and come back to it with fresh eyes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re welcome! Happy travels. And, enjoy the editing process. It is the best part of writing a book (LOL, Kidding!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A friend of mine enjoys editing even more than she does writing! But she might be in the minority, haha.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Interesting 🙂 when I edited my previous WIPs, they’ve always been rewrites. I haven’t actually edited something for real haha. So I am curious about how I’ll like the editing process. How do you like editing vs writing?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like editing, but I might like writing more, because there’s still so much new stuff to discover. (I’m a pantser, so.)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha yes that’s what I would expect from a panther actually so I am not surprised! 🙂 I also like the idea of discovering characters and plot through writing the first draft.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sophie, did you try the new WordPress editor? I don’t know why it crams some of my words and punctuation together. =_=

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Haha did I just say “panther!?” Oh autocorrect! You knew what a meant haha :’)
        It was an adjustment to use the new WP editor!!! The thing where it crams some of the words together happened to me once when I was copying and pasting from a Word document into WP editor. I find that it doesn’t happen when I copy and paste from other programs such as Notes (though that’s only on Mac and iPhone)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I didn’t even realize that you said panther instead of pantser. XD

        Oh wow maybe I should try converting my doc to another file format, and copy and paste. I wonder why it does this to Word, though.

        I just used the classical editor for my latest blog post, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yeah you can try another file format and see how it works 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lol even after winning Nanowrimo, I’m only about halfway through my novel. My novels tend to be quite long. Editing will be even farther in the future. There’s another book I self-published a while ago that I want to make a second edition of, so I want to prioritize that first. Right now, though, I’m spending more time reading novels and writing my blog posts, both of which have been greatly neglected since I started Nanowrimo, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sieran!! We’re in the same boat lol 🙂 I am also continuing to work on my WIP though at a slower pace. I am catching up on reading and blogging as well 🙂 Looking forward to your upcoming blog posts! That’s awesome that you’re working on a second edition of a prior novel!
      On a different note I started rereading a novel that I wrote a year ago. It actually isn’t as bad as I remembered it to be haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t participate in NaNo but this is such a useful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad that you think so Kaleena! Are you working on a novel at the moment? Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no, not me. I have ideas but never seen to write them down. Maybe one day, but for now I am happy to read the work of others!

        Liked by 1 person

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