I’m really not a fan of Halloween. As a kid I always wore the most basic costume created out of clothes I already had in my closet and accessories I would wear again. Once I hit middle school, I felt too old for trick-or-treating but never wanted to go to any costume or Halloween parties. I hate haunted houses and horror movies. I’m a baby when it comes to anything remotely scary. While fall is my favorite season, I ignore the weeks leading up to Halloween.
As I got older and learned about NaNoWriMo, I substituted the Halloween fears and thrills for the terror of working on a new novel and completing it within the same month.
Basically everything about NaNoWriMo scares me. I spent all day on November 1st staring at a blank screen and just willing words to come appear in front of me. I’ve deleted much more than I should’ve, and every time I feel myself starting to highlight a phrase, sentence, or paragraph to delete I stop and have an inner battle over whether I should erase something I just wrote, or if I should press on and continue writing.
(Spoiler alert: I almost always delete it.)
I already wrote a blog post about why I’m terrified of blank space and I’m still trying to move past my initial fear of starting something new. Now I’m also trying to figure out how to continue writing once you’ve already gotten words on the page and an idea is forming in front of me.
I love revising. Revising is my jam. I could revise and edit for days. I love playing with my own words and coming up with “what if’s” and coloring inside and outlines the lines I’ve already drawn for myself. But it’s drawing those lines and coming up with the blueprint that bottles me down and slows my process.
I also love outlining. I could spend months working on the perfect outline but when it comes time to actually write it, I chicken out. The idea and characters could be perfectly fleshed out; I could have spent weeks mulling over the perfect phrase and dialogue and that one line the narrator says to flip the story over on it’s edge, but when I start to write it’s no longer perfect.
I’ve been struggling a lot with my NaNo novel. I’m still making friends with my characters. I don’t really know who they are or what they want. I don’t know where they are in the world or what physical space grounds them to the page. They’re two-dimensional. They’re boring me.
I have too much dialogue already. I’m itching for the action to already be flowing, and I find myself skipping ahead in scenes, putting too many words in the characters months before they’re ready to say them. In an effort to force myself to slow down and work on building a scene around their almost-useless dialogue, I’ve been writing paragraph after paragraph of exposition without grounding the exposition in to a concrete universe.
One of the reasons why I like NaNoWriMo and why I’m drawn in to do it is because it forces me to just write without second guessing myself. It’s only the third day of the month but I haven’t hit as nearly as many words as I would’ve liked because I keep censoring myself and deleting words that could be beneficial towards my word count goal. I’m trying not to think about the quality of my writing but it’s difficult when I keep cringing as I type.
Hopefully as the month continues I’ll get into the groove of writing every day without the constant nagging of my inner editor telling me I’m not doing well enough and that she’s seen me do better.
Does anyone have any advice for writing without editing yourself along the way?