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Archive for November, 2009

NaNoWriMo

     I looked at my blog and realized I haven’t posted in a month. October was a crazy month full of sickness and school meetings. November promises to be even crazier as I have signed up for NaNoWriMo–which for the  nitiated stands for National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I have signed up to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month.

     The thing about me and writing is this—I am a compulsive editor. I cannot help myself. I edit as I write my first draft, I edit all through my revisions (which is when I am actually supposed to edit), I edit my edits, I edit as I am printing copies for my critique group, I even do minor changes while printing the hard copy of the final draft to send to my agent. I cannot stop myself.

     I know…I know…editing is a good thing. We are supposed edit, and most of the editing I do isn’t a problem. However, I have recently started worrying that I am editing my stories to death before they even make it onto paper (or, in this case, the computer screen). In my last project, I became so fixated on getting the first five or six chapters right that I spent about year doing them over and over and eventually lost the thread of the rest of the story. Yes, I actually managed to edit a project to death. This is why I have decided to seek help.
     Of course, every good rehabilitation program involves a partner or sponsor and mine is NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo actively discourages editing as you write. In fact, I have already received an email ridiculing my internal editor and calling her names. I have over thirty reading buddies on the site who will know if my word count starts to drop off. A few will even suspect why, and at least one of them is likely to call me on it.

     I am giving my current project a well-deserved rest and pulling out a shiny new idea for this experiment. It’s an idea I’ve had in my files for a while—another fairytale retelling. I am planning to write the first draft straight through WITHOUT EDITING AT ALL. Yes, that’s right. It will be an adventure in pure creativity. I can’t wait.

     So now you’re all sitting there saying, “Sure, she SAYS she’s not going to edit, but as soon as she starts looking back through what she’s written, she’ll be reaching madly for the delete button.” But, see, that’s the trick—I’m not going to read through it. Once I write it down, I am planning to leave it on the page and go on. I have no idea what I am going to get if I write headlong like this. I don’t even know if I can create a manuscript that fast, but I’m dying to find out it.
     So…I have the idea; I have the program; I have the people. There is nothing left, but to start writing. Wish me luck.

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