It's that time of year, we're heading into December. (How did this happen? Was there a time vortex? What the hell happened to my October?) There's a lot to celebrate, some people are coming off a NaNo high, some are gearing up for holiday parties and cookie exchanges. Some keeners will already be looking ahead and thinking about the coming year and what they want to accomplish. So let's get ready for this last push of 2018.

We've found some resources for you.

Both Donna and Crystal credit NaNoWriMo for having helped them make solid progress on their first novels. Eileen was a NaNo rebel this year and her non-fiction work-in-progress should be ready for readers in January!

Inside the Creative Academy, 28 of our members participated in the NaNo madness and, it looks like virtually all of them "won" based on the goals they set on November 1st. And now the question is, "What do I do with my scrappy rough draft?" Bustle Magazine interviewed published authors and shared Their Best Advice for Next Steps After NaNo.

We agree with all of this good advice but noticed that one very important post-NaNo next step was missing: none of these authors mentioned anything about taking time to celebrate the fact that, whether they hit the magic 50,000 words or not, they wrote a crap-tonne more words by participating than they would have otherwise.

We asked our or own members how they celebrate writing wins. This is by far the most interesting celebration ritual we've heard of:

I've finished two novels, complete with multiple revision rounds, and for both I have celebrated by doing my "OMG, I'm done, I'm done, happy dance" which entails wearing one's favourite bra as a hat, and dancing in a rather...hmm, how shall I say this...unusually exuberant manner. Feels amazing. Then I inform my family they are taking me out for dinner to continue the celebration. And then I allow myself an entire week to just read, and I don't work on anything new in that time period.

If you're looking for more way to honour the fact that you've accomplished a big deal, regardless of whether you get a gold star on your NaNo profile, have a read of what author Fran Sorin says about Why It's Important to Celebrate your writing wins.

And finally, with post-NaNo bumping right in to the silly season of celebrations, we wondered if there were tricks to help us writers stay productive. Well, with an emphasis on the silly, UCLA Extension offers some unusual ways to keep your inner writer working even while you're at holiday parties in Five Ways to Be Productive During the Holidays (or Anytime). Tips #3 and #5 are calling to us!

~ What to check out this week ~

New this week on our YouTube Channel

Author JP (Jo-Anne) McLean chats about rebranding her book series, and how she handled that process. JP writes contemporary fantasy thrillers with a provocative edge and is best known for The Gift Legacy series. The first book of the series received Honourable Mention at the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Reviewers call the series addictive, smart and fun. Join Crystal and JP for this recorded conversation.

~ For Creative Academy members ~

Are you feeling blue? How about red?

We had the great pleasure of reading three members' blue pencil and one member's red pencil submissions this past week. You'll find our critiques of an adult historical fiction, a middle grade book, and a YA historical fiction along with our comments on an agent query for a YA novel by following the links.

As a member of the Creative Academy, you can submit your manuscript pages (blue pencil) and agent queries (red pencil) for review anytime. Here are the details for how to submit for blue pencil critique and red pencil critique.

All the office hours, writing sprints, and special topic 'hangouts'

We've got so much going on this week! Sprints, office hours, and so much sharing! The best way to stay up-to-date on all of the ways we are supporting you to keep moving along your path to publication can be found on Glip/Ring Central.

Just a reminder — Eileen's Happy Hour is will now be Tuesday evenings at 5pm PST and Wednesday morning at 9am PST. And yep, we've changed it in the calendar, too.

And even though NaNoWriMo has come to an end, our special NaNo Mastermind Group will be meeting again on December 6 to properly celebrate everyone's successes.

Can’t make our office hours but have a question for one of us? Let us know in Glip/RingCentral. All sessions are recorded so you can always listen in later. We have a great time in these sessions and would love to see you there!

Want to have the best 2019 ever? Make sure you attend the planning session on December 29, from 10am to 3pm Pacific! We'll help you put a plan in place to ensure 2019 is a rockin' author year for you. Details to follow, but for now just keep the date and time free so you can join in the fun! All you need is to be able to connect via our zoom room.

Not a Creative Academy member? Find out how to become a member here.

~ Creative Advice Prompt ~

December is a great time to hunker in and reflect on what you've accomplished this year. Make a list of what writing accomplishments you made this year — you might be surprised how many there are.

Then write up a reflection list for your main character — what did they accomplish over the course of the book?

Eileen, Crystal and Donna