After a whirlwind of a month, June is finally over. For some of us the end of the month is met with shouts of joy and relief and for others it’s received with a few tears and sighs of nostalgia. You might be wondering, “What on earth do I do now?”
This was our (Anna’s and my) first year hosting this event, and it was even bigger than we’d anticipated. Was JuNoWriMo 2012 a success? Most definitely! We started spreading the word around April, but even with only a few short months to drum up excitement, we had a great turnout this year. Here’s the breakdown:
- Over 170 people formally signed up on our site
- 100 of them participated actively enough to input their numbers into the word count tally spreadsheet
- Of those, we had 24 confirmed winners
- Our members wrote a collective 2, 373,666 words!
That’s excellent! Getting that large a number of participants in our first year exceeded our expectations! Better yet is the tight-knit community we’ve created—or you’ve created, I should say. You are the ones that have told your friends, added our button to your blog and proudly worn your JuNoWriMo shirt for all to see. You’re the ones who showed up on Twitter to sprint with us and met up with others via the #JuNoWriMo hashtag. And that’s why you guys rock.
Remember, even if you didn’t meet the 50K, it doesn’t mean June was a failure for you. If you wrote even one word during the month, that was more than you had before. Give yourself a pat on the back and a reminder not to give up. You got something written and you can do even better next year.
Creating a Community
Writers need each other. We need the support from people who get us. We need a listening ear for bouncing off ideas (and complaints). We need to absorb the good vibes radiating from fellow Creatives. When Anna and I created JuNoWriMo one of our main visions was to create a community of writers.
The camaraderie and support you felt during June doesn’t have to end now that it’s over. On our site we’ve created a way for you to stay connected with other members via the “Cohorts” tab under “Community.” There are already a couple of groups on the site, but we want you to feel free to create your own. Team up with others you’ve met online. You can create groups around genres or writing styles–the pantsers and the planners, for example. Or create a group with others who have agreed to read and comment on your books.
So JuNoWriMo is over. Now what? Here are a few ideas to keep you going.
If you didn’t reach the end: Regardless of meeting 50K or not, idealy your goal should be to finish your novel. My advice is, if you have any intention of ever finishing the book, do it now. You’re still in the story; it’s still fresh in your thoughts and mind. Now is the best time to finish it, whether it’s just getting to the 50K mark or whether it’s going to be 100K. Wherever the end point is for you, reach it. Then step back and take a break from it.
If you finished your novel: When you finish your first draft, put your novel aside. Resist the temptation of peeking at what you’ve written or diving in and going full-force into edit mode. Wait. This advice comes from the most seasoned writers, including Stephen King, if memory serves me. Get away from your story for a good chunk of time—at least four weeks, although six is better. Work on something else during that time.
Here are some things you can do once you’ve finished your novel:
- Start planning your next book—There’s no time like now to start thinking about the next story. Start prewriting, make plans to write during NaNoWriMo (or sooner!).
- Form editing/critique groups—If you aren’t already in a group, find or create one. Team up with others from JuNoWriMo and plan to swap each other’s books to provide helpful feedback.
- Read—Give your brain a break from the writing and refill the well of creativity with a good book. Dive into a novel or read up on the craft. On Writing by Stephen King is an excellent read that I highly recommend. On my own to-read shelf is another writing help book called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. You might want to check out that one as well.
- Buy a T-shirt—Commemorate your experience with one of our t-shirts or other swag from the store. These have a limited availability as we’ll be looking at some new designs for next year. Grab yours while you still can!
- Donate—Did you enjoy JuNoWriMo? Share the love by donating a buck or two. We’ve given freely of our time and energy because we want you to write that novel! We’re super grateful for every donation, no matter how small.
Join Us Next Year!
If you enjoyed June, make sure to participate again next year. It’ll be even bigger and better. In the meantime, tell your friends and spread the word any way you can.
Anna and I are both planning on writing novels in November for NaNoWriMo. Are you doing NaNo? We want to know! You can add us as buddies on http://nanowrimo.org under GreenEyedBecca and AnnaHoward. Also, I’m wondering how many people might be interested in some spreadsheet word count competitive action like we did in June. I think it’s a blast watching each other’s counts grow, as well as trying to grab that “Writer of the Day” title even just once. If any of you JuNo-ers are interested, let me know and we might make it happen. There’s no reason we can’t have our own community even if we’re all doing NaNoWriMo as well.
In the comments, let me know if you think you’ll participate in JuNoWriMo next year, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo in the fall, and if you’d like to see a word count tally spreadsheet for November.