YAY!!! You survived! Or maybe I shouldn’t make any assumptions, there.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say you survived and now have a rough draft (maybe very, very, very rough draft) of about 50,000 words.
Well, first of all, did you write to “The End”? Because if not, then you may have survived, but you’re not done. You must get through to The End, no matter how rough it is (rough meaning the process AND the pages…). If you did not get to The End, I would strongly urge that you NOT take a break, no matter how tired you are (well, maybe a day). You can slow down your schedule, set a lower per-day word or page count, but do not stop. Write every day, or every other day if that’s your schedule, but get the sucker done.
You may end up throwing away most of what you write, but it is a really, really, really bad idea not to get all the way through a story. That is how most books, scripts and probably most all other things in life worth doing are abandoned.
Conversely, if you DID get all the way to “The End”, then definitely, take a break. As long a break as possible. You should keep to a writing schedule, start brainstorming the next project, maybe do some random collaging to see what images come up that might lead to something fantastic - but if you have a completed draft, then what you need right now is SPACE from it. You are going to need fresh eyes to do the read-through that is going to take you to the next level, and the only way for you to get those fresh eyes is to leave the story alone for a while.
So, first, no matter where you are in the process, celebrate! You showed up and have the pages to show for it.
1. Keep going if you’re not done
2. Take a good long break if you have a whole first draft, and if you MUST think about writing, maybe start thinking about another project.
And in the meantime, I’d love to hear how you all who were Nanoing did.
Me? I bashed my way through to the end of Cold Moon, the third in my Huntress Moon series (with LOTS of research trips in Northern California along the way....) Of course it's not as done as I want it to be, but I managed to get through that "I will NEVER finish this bloody thing" stage into the "Wow, I may not be done yet but this is way too good to abandon now" stage, which is not exactly the home stretch yet but it is a major corner to turn. A good month!
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