Before the clock strikes midnight and all possibilities of adding to your numbers evaporate here are five things to do....
1. Make note of people you wrote with and who inspire you.
Whether you attended a write-in, worked with a buddy in a writer's group, or just found a YouTuber or Blogger who posted content you enjoy, keep in touch. Set up a meetup in the upcoming months, or drop a comment or email if they are an online buddy. Writers don't just write in November, and while it is A-Okay to take a breather during the craziness of December, don't drop off the edge of the earth.
You may have met someone new or re-invigorated a relationship with a content creator that pushed you forward. Don't let that connection die. Bookmark their page, give them a shout out on social media, or send them an email.
2. Vow to revise AFTER.
I hate to break it to the newbie writers, but your book is not ready to submit to a publisher. Take a few days off before you start going through the document you've been slaving over. I recommend a complete re-read before you start marking it up to get the whole picture. Get an idea of what needs fixed and make some basic notes so you know who changed names and eye color. Then go about fixing plot holes and other nasty bugs that crawled out of your 4am writing sprints.
Once you've done your re-reading find another writer to read it. Get some honest feedback. Preferably someone not on your xmas list, because you want someone who will lay it out, not try and ensure their stocking isn't full of coal.
3. Figure out your next step.
If this is the first time you've finished a book, I highly recommend finding a writer's group or critique partner to trade work with. You could attend workshops, or join an organization (like RWA if you write romance).
If this isn't your first rodeo, write down what comes next on a Post-It and slap it over your writing space. With the craziness of the holidays sometimes just knowing what you have to do one step at a time helps you stop being overwhelmed. You've just spent the month putting your writing before everything else, don't let that fire slip away.
And if you didn't get near what you wanted to accomplish done, figure out why. Is this challenge not realistic for you? Is the daily writing not your style and demotivated you? Evaluate what happened and figure out how to better match yourself with a timetable. No writer has the same routine. But the only way you'll find out yours is to keep trying new things until one of them works. So...if NaNoWriMo didn't work for you, still get out that Post-It and write down what you're going to try next. And do it.
4. Reward yourself.
Whether or not you made it to 50,000 words this month, you took the plunge to make a commitment to your writing. If you set up rewards for yourself that you didn't quite make it to this year, that's okay. Look at what you did accomplish. There are writing buddies on my list who have less than 500 words. But those are 500 words more than they had at the beginning of the month. And if they keep doing it, they would have a novel in less than a year's time.
Sometimes the reward spurs you on to getting more in the last few days than you'll have written all month. I've come back from 10k behind because once I hit that halfway mark and got myself my coffee reward, I knew I could do more.
5. Do one thing every day we have left to feed your story.
Notice I didn't say write every day in these last 5 days? I didn't. Do one thing to feed your story. Realize you need a lot more research before you keep writing? Spend thirty minutes a day doing it. Need to decide on the best ending for your characters? Spend thirty minutes a day brainstorming, or outlining, or even just writing your plot points on note cards so you can have a visual layout of your book.
We only have 5 days left. And if you signed up, you wanted to commit to this crazy idea you had in your head. Use these last five days to either write like crazy, or get yourself set up for success in the coming year.
I could keep writing and wax poetic on my #NaNoWriMo experience, or my love of the atmosphere it creates, but I have words to write, and brand new vampire who is dying to sink her teeth into her maker. I'm off to keep sprinting toward my "The End". What are you going to accomplish today?