After the NaNo

by Jeff Hite

So you finished your nano novel, or maybe not. In the four years that I have participated in NaNoWriMo I have only made It to 500000 words one time, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t. But despite not winning NaNoWriMo, I don’t count any of them as a loss. In fact, the one year that I did finish it was probably more detrimental to my writing than the other years.

The reason for this might not be as obvious as you might think. Last year when I finished NaNoWriMo I felt like I had put so much into it that I felt drained. And while I felt like I might have more to write I fell into the trap. Sure you have written 50,000 words and you deserve a little break. That was how I felt as well. Think this as a marathon. You train and train for it, (most people other than me do some prep work before they start on their novels) the the big day of the race comes along. In this case November and NaNoWriMo. You write, and you wirte knocking each mile or word count goal down. You get to the end month or cross the finish line and you have accomplished something major. You deserve a break. However, don’t take too long.

Most professional and even just runners who take it at all seriously don’t take the next day off, instead they just do a very light run the next day, slowly building themselves back up to a normal workout. By not taking the break it means that the next day they can’t say, “Well I’ll rest one more day.”

The same could be said about writing. As cool as it is to be able to say that you finished a novel In just one Month, you need to be ready to start that next project, write that next book or novella or short story or even the next Drabble, because if you don’t, next November is going to come around again and you will not have written anything all year. Don’t know what to write? No problem. Check out one of the hundreds of writing prompt websites, and use one of them. Might I suggest, Pirate’s Cove the 100 word story contest or Every Photo Tells The point is that you have built a habit, writing everyday, you don’t have to kill yourself and write 2000 words everyday set a modest goal of 250 words a day. If you make that goal great, if you write more than that goal, wonderful.

So sure, your aching fingers might need a little bit of a break, you might be fresh out of great ideas, but you need to keep writing. You are a writer after all right? And what else to writers do, other than write? So get back out there. Put something else on the page.

Other Places to find writing prompts:
the Prompt generator


  • An awesome post and very good points about not quitting writing until next NaNo.

    For those who are still working on their books, whether it’s editing or getting the marketing lined up, you might want to check out my NaNoWriMo Wrap Up post.

    Awesome article.


  • Thanks Allison. I just listened to a Shared Desk episode that talked about how important it is that you take the time to edit the novel you just wrote before you try to get it published, so I am happy to see other people talking about this as well.