Sunday, November 8, 2009

National Novel Writing Month - Week One in Review

The first week of the National Novel Writing Month is now behind us. For many of us, that meant frantic writing to try to meet our word count. This is the fourth year that I've participated in NaNoWriMo. I've succeeded each of the prior years. But this year, I fell into the age-old NaNoWriMo trap. On about the third day, I realized that what I was writing was crap. It didn't inspire me. It didn't encourage me. I didn't write. And I fell behind.

It wasn't until yesterday that I figured out the trap I’d fallen into. I forgot the essence of NaNoWriMo, which is to write; nothing but write; and to write like the wind. I wasn’t writing. I was complaining about how much my story sucked. Of course it sucked. I was putting it down on paper for the first time. Anyone’s first draft sucks. Some of ours more than others, but it’s called a first draft for a reason. And that reason is it sucks!

Boy, I want to re-emphasize that; it sucks. It Sucks. IT SUCKS.

Don’t get me wrong. You might have a great story there. And you might even have a lot of gems within your writing that you're really proud of. That's wonderful, and I do too. You might also have a lot that needs to be fixed. There's nothing wrong with that. I do too. This is NaNoWriMo, the time when the goal is not to write a perfect novel, but just to write a novel. Period. If you thought you would write a perfect novel, then you were wrong.

And that was the trap I fell into. I wanted it to be perfect. Okay, maybe I just wanted it to be good. It wasn't. Or at least I didn't think it was. But looking back on it, maybe it is. It’s at least adequate. And the goal is not perfection. So by day seven, I remembered that it wasn't about writing a perfect novel, it was about writing a novel. And that's what I'm trying to do. If I want a perfect novel, I'll have to edit.

And so will you. Don't try to write the perfect novel. Try to write a novel. That's what this month is about. Write it now; worry about editing it later.


  1. Your word count looks pretty good, Doug. Glad you're back in the game!

  2. And somewhere, around 15k words, you begin to suspect that THIS is the real beginning of the book. ARGH.