National November Writing Month – the month when writers around the world join in a quick-fire effort to complete a story of 50,000 words in just 30 days – just finished. I’ve been marking it this month by re-posting some of the material I’ve published in past years to help writers get to that goal. Here’s the last of the re-posts, a way of taking that manuscript and pushing ahead with it
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a worldwide spurt by writers to pen the first draft of a novel in a month – wrapped up this week.
OK, so you’ve got your manuscript. Finished or not. Polished or not. Probably not polished, actually – pushing out 50,000 words in a month, polished and finished, is something to tax even the most experienced writer.
The whole aim of NaNo, of course, isn’t to produce a finished novel – it’s to do the writing. It’s a learned skill, like any other, and the trick now is where next. My thoughts?
- Stick the manuscript in a metaphorical drawer for a month. Don’t look at it until after Christmas.
- When you do look at it, start reading from the beginning. Pretend you’ve never read it before.
- Now re-write it…
I pretty much guarantee that you’ll want to. And it’s worth succumbing to that temptation. Hemingway is always reputed to have said that the “first draft of anything is shit.” He’s right. But equally, getting that first draft written is also a challenge – one that NaNo helps people overcome.
There’s usually a lot of hard work, going from that first draft to a final book. Maybe the final won’t even match up much with the first draft – I mean, look at Tolkien, whose first casts at both The Hobbit and at The Lord Of The Rings were almost completely different from the finals.
It’s all grist to the mill – and it’s all good.
If you want some more writing tips and hints, and a method for pushing your book through, check out my short quick-start manual How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015 and 2018