Today marks the first day that those participating in NaNoWriMo can officially validate their novels. It was possible to upload your work before this to check your counts, but the official winner status begins being awarded today. There isn’t really anything else you get, other than a cute certificate for completing your 50,000 words. It’s not about getting anything concrete. It’s about letting yourself do the thing that so many talk about, but never get around to doing. It’s about establishing the habit of writing every day, of realizing that you can find the time to write, even with all the rest of your life still there, too. After all, if you can do it during November, when there are major holidays for many people.
I hit (by my word processor’s count) 51, 015 words last night. It wasn’t always easy. There were a few days I didn’t get anything at all written, for one reason or another. The story is not finished yet, but it is almost there. I want to get another couple scenes written before I upload to validate. And then it will be on to finishing the thing.
And after that? Well, it’s time to set this one aside for a bit. That is usually a good idea, with any story. When you finish a story, you’re too close to it to be able to edit and revise immediately. You need to step back and let it rest. Otherwise, you will most likely decide the whole thing is garbage and be tempted to just scrap it. You need the perspective to see the good as well as the bad.
Of course, that doesn’t say what you do in the immediate days after NaNoWriMo. Here’s what you do- you write. Remember, you put a whole month in learning that you can set aside time to write. That is, if you did it properly. Sure, there are people who don’t set a plan. There are those who don’t write every day, and who play catch up with thousands of words on a weekend or pull all nighters. That’s the wrong way to do it, especially if you want to continue to write and perhaps, even publish someday. You can’t do that without treating it as work, as a job. And that means writing regularly. So, while you are letting that NaNo story simmer, you start something else. Or go back to something you started before. But whatever it is, stick to it. Keep writing.
On a personal level, I am going to finish the story, although I will take a few days off for Thanksgiving. And then, I am going to reward myself and indulge in a little personal fun. I am going to commit a little fanfic. Because everyone deserves a little fun now and then.