naNO EDITING


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Last week, I touched on time (or lack thereof) being one of the impediments to finishing strong in NaNoWriMo.

This week, I’d like to speak of another. It is the dreaded Inner Editor. We’ll call him Eddie for short.

You see, normally, Eddie is happy to tell you about every word that is misspelled, all the missing punctuation, fragmented sentences and how stupid your dialogue sounds. He is there to help you write a better book. The poor sod means well.

However, Eddie doesn’t always understand that he isn’t really needed much during a first draft. He also doesn’t comprehend that he slows us down during NaNo.

So how do we get Eddie to chill for 30 days? Here’s what I tend to do.

  • Set a time limit for each writing session. Within this time limit, you need to reach what you personally consider a ridiculously high amount of words. For example, each of my 2-hour sessions has a 2500 word limit attached. Because I know this, I don’t stop to check for misspelled words or grammatical errors.
  • Give yourself 30 minutes after your writing session to go back and touch up what you’ve done. This will feed Eddie’s habit and keep him docile.
  • At the beginning of your next writing session, resist the urge to go back and fully re-read what you wrote last time. Only look at about 2-4 paragraphs to get back into the rhythm of the story. Any more than that and Eddie takes it as a clue to get to work.
  • If you aren’t sure of the best word to use in a sentence, leave a question mark and find the word after your writing session time is over.
  • Lastly, remember, it’s a first draft–it’s supposed to suck. You don’t need a perfect first draft. That’s what revisions are for.

How are you doing so far with NaNoWriMo? Leave me a comment as I am truly interested.

Until next week:

“There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.”
Chris Baty

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