NaNoWriMo success comes from having a plan. Just like most other things in life, how far we end up going is largely dependent on how far ahead we have thought things through.

While NaNoWriMo provides you with ample structure, support and all the benchmarks (all necessary element s for writing a novel) knowing how to face what comes next is critical.

Let me say this. There are some writers, content to look back at their November sprint with satisfaction. I think this is fine.

But I would guess that most of you who have just finished your sprint are probably wondering: I’m done… so what am I supposed to do now?

Well, I’m here to share with you the five things to keep in mind to brand your NaNoWriMo success.

NaNoWriMo Success Tip #1: Congratulate Yourself

You are probably aware that you’re eventually going to have to re-write your newly completed novel. But hold on.

Pat yourself on the back first.

Yes, writing is re-writing. But every fifth draft of a best selling series starts in the very same place.

With the first draft. You’ve done that much now. Setting the first stone is the most essential step in creating a long and winding path.

Tip #2: Find A New Frame Of Mind

First drafts are like mining for gold.

You spend the whole time down deep digging. You pull out nuggets and discover new things.

First drafts of novels are fun because anything is possible.

Second drafts… and third, and fourth, and however far you end up going are about something else. Those drafts are about refinement.

Each new draft is about fine tuning those rough spots into fine fiction. This stage is fun too. Just remember, it’s just a different kind of fun.

Tip #3: What Is 50,000 Words?

You know the old joke? What do they call 50,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

Well, the answer to the above question is the same as the joke’s punchline.

Adult contemporary novels, like the ones you buy at your local Barnes & Noble store, or at the airport book store generally run in the 80,000 word range. Other genres, like Young Adult and Middle Grade run a bit shorter, but they’re still mostly bigger than 50K.

Yes, it is true that you are less beholden to old ideas about book length because of Amazon Kindle publishing (and other eBook platforms). Your readers, however, still expect old fashioned heft in a novel even though we’re living in the digital age.

And yes, I did mention your readers. They’re a part of this too.

Tip #4: Picture The End Product

Remember your readers? Yeah, they are out there and they are salivating hungrily to get their mitts on your book.

Because re-writing is harder, this is a good time to start thinking bigger. Imagine your book cover. Come up with the titles to books similar to yours.

It is not premature to think about where your book fits on that paper and digital shelf. You would actually be foolish not to think of this stuff now.

NaNoWriMo Success Tip #5: You May Need Some Help

Often it comes down to this — and that’s OK. As long as there have been writers, there have been editors around to help them think about and work through these latter, novel writing stages.

Here is a common misconception though: Editors are not there to tell you what doesn’t work with your book.

Let me disavow you of this myth because it is not true.

Quite the contrary, actually. Editors are there to help you identify what does work with your book and to work with you on capitalizing on that.

An editor does not need to cost a lot either. There is a manuscript consultant that fits every budget. Even yours.

And working with them may just be the way to find the ultimate NaNoWriMo success: your novel’s publication.

Do you have a NaNoWriMo success tip that you would like to share? If so, leave them in the comments.

I would love to hear more