Pep Talk - 2009 - Endgame

(ha, I bet you weren't expecting this!)

Endgame time! Hooray! If you haven't made your goal yet, now is the time to throw that "real life" thing out the window and get down to serious writing. Yeah, you thought you were writing seriously before, but oh how wrong you were. You see, endgame is sort of like JanNo is all month, but now cram that entire month into a few days. That's endgame, and it is fun, and it is crazy, and it might possibly have you tearing your hair out, but weeks later when you've finally recovered, you'll miss that adrenaline and caffiene fueled rush.

If you're still a little ways off your goal, what are you waiting for? Feburary? It would suck to lose now, so write!

If you're still a long ways off your goal, don't give up! Nothing is impossible, and massive come-from behind days have happened, and they CAN be yours.

The things to keep in mind during endgame are that:

1. Given the lack of time left in the month, everything non-essential has got to go. TV, hobbies, heck, even sleep can go out the window. Write while you eat. Write when you should be sleeping. Write when you can get away with it. Write in the shower--okay, so maybe that one's a little harder. (Though you could just write instead of showering...but your friends might complain ;) )

2. Quotas are dead. Your only quota now is "the end", and you're doing it now. Don't stop when you hit where you want to be for the day. Keep going and get as much done as fast as you can. Set your goals overly high to ensure that you make them.

3. Don't think about what you're writing. You're aiming to hit a goal now, and it's time to pull out every trick you need to get to that goal. Summarize. Skip around. Go on narrational tangents. Cabbages, darn it. Your inner editor going "but that's not how it's supposed to be" can go stuff it.

So. Having said a few words on what endgame is supposed to be like, let's look beyond that for a moment. After all, it's only a few days and then January is gone. For better or worse, you're through the month, and you may have gotten a novel out of it. So...then what?

Well, you may decide to edit it. EdMo may be a bit too soon for your away-from-your-novel shelving time, but there's always editing by yourself. (Editing doesn't work quite as well as a deadline self-contest, anyway.) Nano this year had a tip that I thought was the best advice I've heard, from the mouth of the master himself: Chris Baty suggests that you have your story nailed down before you go to edit. Of course, you've got a great source to start with: a draft that has a lot of main points in some semblance of order. Having it all down and seeing where it went will go miles toward helping you get things in order, as well as giving you a chance to figure out what worked and what didn't.

You may also decide to say 'screw it' and start writing again. That's fine too. In fact, one of the best things you can do to ensure continued WriMo success and a better habit overall in writing is to write on a regular basis. There are a number of ways to do this. Obviously, there are other wrimos: there's one for practically every month in the year, as well as WriYe. But if constant novels wears you out, there's also other options, like blogging on a daily basis, weekly short stories, and even the option of a group writing or roleplay to keep you thinking in story/character/plot format year round without the high-volume writing of a WriMo.

Whatever you decide to do with this novel, or the next, don't let January be the end. Continue to expand your writing horizons and novel portfolio, and remember, there's always next year.