Trust me. I've been there.
I just recently finished NaNoWriMo. It's my second time participating in the borderline insane write-a-novel-in-a-month contest. Thankfully, I finished for the second year in a row. 50,000 words have been penned and my life - although it was a bit hectic trying to get through NaNo - is richer for it! But it begs the question...what are you supposed to do with that manuscript when you're done writing it? Any manuscript?
- Put it away. Let me be perfectly honest. I have never been able to accurately judge any of my manuscripts unless I give myself a little space between writing it and reading it. A period of about two weeks does it for me, although I know people who wait longer. Trust me on this - resist the temptation to read the book the day after you finish writing it. Put distance between yourself and your work. You'll be able to see it clearly if you do.
- Determine its publishing future. I'm not trying to be mean, but not all books are meant to be published. I know this because I've written plenty of them. Part of being a writer is falling down, failing and getting back up again. Your manuscript might not be ready for publication - so don't publish it! Ask yourself the painfully honest question: Is this the novel I should be putting out there? Doubt is normal, so get other peoples' opinions. Just be honest with yourself, and you'll get an honest answer.
- Learn from it. Every time you write a novel, you're learning something new. You're learning to write better, you're learning to build stronger characters, and you're learning to edit as you write. Because as you grow as a writer, you're learning what not to do as much as you're learning what you should do.
- Publish it! Hey, if you wrote a novel, and it's good, then why not explore publishing it? Becoming a published author can only be a positive thing - a valuable, once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. Traditional publishing? You bet! Independent publishing? Definitely! Give it a shot. It might be the next Hunger Games. You never know, right?
Writing a novel is something I encourage everyone - even non-writers - to try at least once in their life. It's a way to explore your thoughts and emotions like no other. So get out there, write your book, and decide what you want to do with it. If nothing else, saying you wrote a novel gives you pretty awesome bragging rights. Just putting that out there! *wink* Plus, the New Adult category could definitely use an infusion of diversity in the coming years - so what are you waiting for? Get to it!
By the way, Merry Christmas, guys! Enjoy the holiday season!