Last week, NaNoWriMo ended. Almost 37,000 people have bragging rights for another year. Whereas another few hundred thousand, didn’t make it to the finish line. Those numbers should tell you that taking on NaNo is not for the faint of heart. Only people who came into this with a clear plan of attack, and the drive to “get ‘er done” survived.

For the past week, we’ve celebrated, bragged and marveled at our excellence. I pigged out on Maison Robert chocolates and chilled all week. So, what comes next? Some will put their manuscript aside and go back to “real life”. They’ll come back next year and do it all over again because they’re more interested in the camaraderie than the actual completion. Others will complete the first draft and…set it aside and go back to “real life” because they listened to “Harvey” telling them they can’t make it work.

Few will take the time to complete the manuscript, by either completing what they’ve started, or tearing it apart and rebuilding it from scratch. As I stated in last week’s post, I’ve been transferring my project from one software to another. In the process, I’m seeing what holes need to be plugged and creating necessary notes so that I can spackle during rewrites. Once I complete the entire first draft (hopefully by the end of December), then I will be on the road to what my friend Quinn Barrett has said is the fun part of writing—re-writing.

Life after NaNo goes on. And that life should be about taking the work that we sweated and slaved over for 30 plus days and making the best out of it. If that best means looking it over and realizing that it was fun while it lasted, but it’s time to toss it and start over, then so be it. If that best means keeping up the pace and completing the first draft, then my hat is off to you.

However, giving up and never finishing it seems to be a waste of a good experience. You will be tempted to take one week off and let that week turn into six months. Fight the urge. Yes, we have Christmas coming up with all the parties and mandatory family obligations. But you can do this. You can make the last thirty days mean more than bragging rights. You can make it mean a self-published ebook in twelve to eighteen months. Or, if you are going the traditional route, you can make this the novel that lands you an agent.

Whichever route you go, make the last month count. NaNo was just the springboard. You are the one that has to take the plunge. So what’s it going to be? Will you join me in making this experience pay off? Leave me a comment and tell me what you’re planning. Let’s keep encouraging one another to make it to the finish line.

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