Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beware: November Approacheth

November is National Novel Writing Month, shortened to NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo.  I've discussed it in previous blog posts, but if you don't know what it is and don't care to go searching through my old blog posts, it is when people from all around the world jump on board the train of insanity and work on writing an entire novel of at least 50,000 words in one month.

It is a lot of fun.

NaNo has already begun in some places around the world.  In my neck of the woods, NaNo starts in 6 hours, 56 minutes, and 21 seconds. (No, I'm not obsessive.  The NaNo homepage has a countdown clock.)

Basically, thousands and thousands of people all around the world are now going through some of the following (there were too many examples to fit into one drawing):


I would like to take the opportunity to talk about how it is okay to write poorly and keep moving forward.  I know there are some people who will scrap an entire section of writing if they make mistakes in it.  I know there are other people who will spend ages on one scene and try to make it absolutely perfect before moving forward.

But nobody I know writes a perfect first draft.  It is okay to have mistakes.  It's okay to have misspellings and bad grammar and to end sentences with prepositions.  Because your first draft isn't going to be your only draft.  You can go back and fix things later.  You can nitpick to your heart's frustration content.  You don't even have to do it right away.  In fact, sometimes you'll catch more mistakes and find new ways to smooth out your writing if you step back from it for a while after you write it. 

This is a very important thing to know if you're writing a novel in one month, because if you do NaNo and you stop to fix every little thing, you may not finish your book.  Of course, you may be one of those people who can fix everything and still churn out 100,000 words.  Find out how you write best, and then go for it.

No matter what you're writing and no matter if it takes you a month or three years, it's okay to take chances.  Make mistakes.  Be daring.  Be crazy.  Write outside of your box.  If you must go back and edit as you're writing, then go back and edit, but keep in mind that we are often our own worst critics.  Something that you've been staring at for a month might seem to be the most horrible piece of writing you have every seen, but it really might not be as bad as you think.  In fact, it might be a very solid scene.  If you give yourself some time, you might see it from a different light.

Above all, have fun exploring your story.

(And good luck out there to all my fellow Wrimos!)

(6 hours, 52 minutes, and 10 seconds left for me!  *still not obsessive*)


  1. I love trying to guess which of the stick figures is me...;)

  2. @Emily Kate Johnston LOL! I actually made that and randomly threw hair colors on characters, and then threw comments at them. Then I looked at the red-head and went "ACK! I hope Kate doesn't think I'm predicting her laptop's demise!"

  3. I'm claiming the one who is incoherently flailing!

  4. Well, I'm not doing Nano, never have, probably never will, but I admire those who give it a shot. I am trying to be more disciplined in my weekly schedule, especially now as I'm working on a new story and want to get the first draft done before Christmas. That's aiming high, doubt it's going to happen, but we'll see!

  5. I'm failing miserably at NaNoWriMo this year... I thought I'd take the opportunity to crank out some more first-draft on my big ol' fantasy epic, but I discovered I *really* need to take time and plot some things out and gain control of the plot-lines I have going...

    I wrote a couple new scenes, but have ground to a halt. Still three weeks left - perhaps I can get my map out, get some things straight in my brainpan, regroup, and dive back in...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!