Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing a Novel: Day 1

Status: Still excessively optimistic.
Word Count: 0

I signed up online at NaNoWriMo today. Officially threw my hat in the ring. And I got a lovely email in response, the author of which is most definitely a writer. They're very encouraging. For example, the subject line of the email read: NaNoWriMo loves VDuke. They know me too well.

That email was just so inspiring. They told me how to get plugged into local writing groups (too late for me to join one now though). They told me to just keep going. They assured me that it was completely natural to not have any idea what I was doing.

And they introduced a foreign concept to me-- writing without editing.

I am a classic case of edit-as-you-go. I almost never write completely new drafts of papers because by the time I've reached the end of the essay, it's really already been edited five or six times through. So this new approach to writing will be a challenge for me. A very big challenge. Probably the biggest one (after writing all those words, of course).

Here's an excerpt from that awesome email:

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it's hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn't. Every book you've ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.  

My favorite is number three. I've definitely already told all y'all about this novel business. Here's to hoping you'll make me stick to it.

I should probably start writing now.

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