Monday, November 1, 2010

Day One

Today starts our jump into NaNoWriMo. Technically, Claire and Rachel have been in November 1st for about 12 hours longer –give or take. But we won’t hold that lead against them. ;-)

So what about you? Are you NaNo’ing?

Since its inception, I’ve heard criticism over NaNo –the breakneck speed favors quantity or quality, nothing but crap comes out of it, that’s not a real way to write a novel.

Let’s address that, shall we?

Quantity vs. Quality.

Yes, well, I’m all for quality. But you are fooling yourself if you think you’re going to get absolute best quality out of any first draft. You are not. There is a time for fiddling and there is a time for doing. We tend to wallow in our stories. For whatever reason, it is too easy for us not to write. Sometimes we hide behind this notion of quality. We want it perfect, damn it! Perfect is great but if it stays on your computer until the dawn of time does it really matter? NaNo can get you off your duff and compel you to finish what you’ve been sitting on forever. And if should need cleaning up come December. Then clean it up.

Crap, crap, crap.

This is really an extension of quality vs. quantity, isn’t it? And does it really matter in this short term? So what if what you are writing turns out to be crap. Its words down on the page. That’s better than no words. More importantly, you’ve gotten into the habit of hitting the keys every day. Good writing habits lead to good writing. In other words, practice, practice, practice.

The Wrong Way.

Excuse me but IS there a right way to write a novel? No.

Novels are like snowflakes, like people, each one is as individual as its creator. Some might suck, some might be brilliant but they are all their own. Each writer approaches the task in his or her own way –as it should be.

Actually, I’d urge you to keep this last bit in your mind. Write what you want, how you want. Don’t get caught up on what is proper. Are you filling out holes in your existing manuscript? Great! Rewriting fifty scenes that desperately needed it? Awesome. Starting from scratch? Excellent, go with whatever pops into your head. Don’t stop to worry. That’s for later. Strap on some Nikes and just do it.


  1. Rewriting fifty scenes, that's me! :-)

  2. That last paragraph was really inspiring! thanks :D

  3. I have a conductor friend Ben Zander who tells his music students, "If you play a wrong note, don't beat yourself up. Say, 'How fascinating!' - you're on the journey of discovery."

  4. David, I love that! What a great attitude, and a perfect one for NaNoWriMo :)