Guest Post by ChiWriMo Member Jennifer Worrell – “I have to get this sentence just right.”

I have to get this sentence just right.
On the first try.
But really, I need to go back and read everything I wrote up to this point first…
…and fix all these mistakes too.

Where are all my edit-as-you-go brothas and sistas?  He-ey!  Holla!

*Slap slap slap*  This is NaNoWriMo.  You’re doing it wrong.

I can’t divorce writing and editing!  I admit it!  I go back and reread what I wrote last time because it helps me recapture my mood and tone.  And if I see a mistake, it seems pointless to take notes and revise it later.

NaNo is different.  It says to hell with conventions and honing skill and trying to write the next Great American Novel.  Instead, it begs you to do the opposite.  Your first draft will not only be garbage, it’s expected to be garbage.  If it isn’t, the other participants will hate you.  Just sayin’.

Serious writing is like going to the symphony.  You dress up in your finest and hope no one laughs at your attempt at class.  If you’re lucky, beautiful music happens along the way.  NaNo is like making mud pies in your backyard.  It’s messy, it makes no sense, and you’d be horrified if someone saw it.  It’s recess for your inner child.

It’s been said that first you should tell yourself the story.  That’s great advice for NaNo participants.  Tell it like an old coot: Ramble.  Write about it in casual terms, without the thesaurus adding flourishes to your prose.  Bore yourself with information in both senses of the word: drill it into your head, over and over, until you know every corner of your story’s world, every freckle and flaw of your characters, every color and shade of the setting.

Freewriting is your friend, and it’s just that: freeing.  Worrying about getting it perfect is a waste of precious time.  You only have 26 days left!  There’s no room for procrastination or fine tuning.  Quantity is the name of the game here.  Quality comes later.  Somewhere in that unholy mishmash, you’ll unveil a nugget or five you can polish up and worry over on December 1st.  Until then, beat it!  Go play in the dirt.

Comments

  1. says

    This was excellent advice! I ended up doing a free-write right after this and connected a bunch of loose-things in my story.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now I’m off to play in that immune-system boosting NaNo mud. :)

  2. Rhissanna Collin says

    I hear you! I have to read (and edit and prune) a hefty chunk of what I’ve just written to get me up to speed to carry on. Like a runway or a takeoff ramp? But I co-write with someone who can just sit down and do it. Cold. Like magic typing fingers. I am in awe of his talent.

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