As I’ve been madly writing for NaNo this month, I’ve discovered the true gift of National Novel Writer’s Month. Learning to write with abandon.
I’ve only written three books. I hear a lot of people talk about their five, eight, thirteen books, and I think Uh oh! Why have I only written three? What’s wrong with me? I’ve secretly feared that maybe I don’t really know how to write a new book from beginning to end.
While I’m not there yet, I have no doubt I’ll finish my book by the end of the month. And I know why I haven’t written the end on any projects beyond my original three: I wasn’t writing with abandon.
I was writing, sure. But I was writing carefully. I had to have pages ready for crit partners, I wanted to show my best writing. So I’d write, read, edit, write, read, edit. All this stop and start. Stop and start. I didn’t know I was doing it–I’ve never really had a problem with my internal editor, or so I thought. But now I know that I’ve slowed myself down by laboring over character development, word choice, and plot holes.
And when you’re looking to lay down a first draft, there’s really only one thing that matters: get it down.
NaNo gives me permission (well, to suck, yes–that’s a given) to press forward, to go ahead and repeat that phrase, or use my favorite words all I want. Just get the story down.
Writing with abandon allows me to live inside the world I’ve created. It connects me, viscerally, with the characters in my head. My voice comes alive and by the time I’ve reached the end, I not only have another book (I can do it!) I’m now armed with information to allow me to go back and perform a kickass revision.