Post-NaNoWriMo Editing: Gameplan
NaNoWriMo is over! Did you win the challenge? Did you get close? No matter what, give yourself a round of applause! You challenged yourself and committed as much as you were able. Be proud!
Here's the next step, and no, don't cringe in fear--I promise it will be ok. Now, however, it is time to edit your NaNo project. We began the month with the strict principle of locking our inner editor in a closet and gagging them to silence their incessant nagging for the sake of quantity over quality. Now, we let it out with a tiny apology and the courage to let it do its job. Now's the time to reverse it and work towards quality over quantity.
That's right, now we cut the excess words and refine that grammar you chose to ignore. No worries, I'll be in the exact same boat. By the way, if you logged into NaNoWriMo this year, visit this nice little Now What? link to get some NaNo support for working your first draft to your last.
Here's where I'm going to harp a little on your writing community now more than ever. The best way for me to edit my project is to take it to critique group. I've obsessed over this draft for 30 days, I'm going to let someone else help me make this process so much easier.
You do the same. NaNoWriMo's prepared to connect to you whatever help you need to get your editing done. Otherwise, it's definitely time to get started on that writing community if you have not already.
When it comes to your actual editing, here's a bit of advice: don't judge yourself too harshly when it comes to what you see on the page. No first draft is perfect. I promise you my first draft will have atrocious grammar. Horrifyingly atrocious. Just work through it and remind yourself as you go, that you're trying to produce the best possible version of your project that you can. So don't become your own worst enemy when it comes to finishing your book.
It's December now which means it's time for you to do more than just write your project. It's time to refine it, so get working and pour your heart into perfecting your novel!