Dear NaNoWriMos

No Telling

This is the note I posted in our local NaNoWriMo forum. I think we all need it today.

Right now and the next week is an iffy time for us. Some of us who ran headlong into a carefully constructed plot may find ourselves frozen solid. Some of us may be suffering from the sinister machinations of The Inner Editor. Some of us, in fact, may simply be worn out.

I’m here to tell you everything is salvageable. Everything is fine. You WILL make it.

For those frozen solid with What Comes Next, jump outside of the box. Make a list of scenes, chapter titles, anything. Then turn each one into a separate, empty document. There’s no law that says we have to write this novel in order – I NEVER do. Simply dive into the scenes or chapters you feel good about. Don’t worry about maintaining a perfect thread, because that’s what rewrite is all about. As you write and other scenes come to you, make a blank document for those, too. It’s relieving to open up the files and see choices – start anywhere and you’ll still end up at the end. Last year this method saved me and made the book actually better. Try it.

That Inner Editor? Not your friend. In fact, that rascal’s not anyone’s friend. Some of you may have a whole dastardly jury box full of Inner Editors happily chipping away at your enthusiasm, your bravado, your talent. Don’t give ’em an inch. Collectively and individually, those Inner Demons must be removed. If you can, come with us to tomorrow night’s write-in – we’ll physically take those badboys down. If not, I suggest you write a hateful note to your Inner Editor/Ugly Jury and hold nothing back. Make an effigy and do violence to it. Something. Whatever it takes to put that negativity where it belongs – far away from you and your gorgeous novel.

Are you simply worn out? Y’all, I’m a frazzle right now – don’t think you’re alone. The thing to remember is that this month, this novel, these words are all the best gift you’ll ever give to yourself. No one else can give you this, it won’t show up in your stocking next month and there’s no cash equivalent. Does it feel selfish? Hell, yes. Are we all trained to be unselfish and put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own? Absolutely. What you need to know is that you’re worth every single minute you give to the novel. You deserve this and it might be the best present you ever receive. I know we’re tired and frustrated, but the end is so beautiful that every last minute, every single word is worth it. I promise.

Go eat something healthy, grab a big cup of coffee, and let’s do this thing.


Image via Shannon McDonald

13 thoughts on “Dear NaNoWriMos

  1. Our ML suggested we find something that represents our Inner Editor and destroy it: bury it, set it aflame, put it in the freezer, anything to get him/her/it to shut the hell up! It doesn't matter if the representation of our Inner Editor is a doll, picture, or drawing, just destroy it. Currently, my IE is trussed up in the corner with his mouth duct taped shut. If he continues to behave himself he gets to live to help me out in December. If not, then it's the flame thrower for him and I'll just find a new IE come December.

  2. We MLs love to come up with monsterous way to kill or set aside the Inner Editor. Let me warn you now, sometimes that IE just needs to hit the road permanently and take his baggage with him.

    I'm all for finding a new one come December.

  3. Wow! This was SO absolutely just exactly what I need to hear. Thank you so much for these words of wisdom … of encouragement and understanding … oh and for the license to go ahead and be a little selfish. : ) Peace and blessings to you. I will finish this thing! TM

  4. My inner editor is heavily sedated and sleeping in one of the corners of my mind.

    I personally like to write my story in order, because I usually know where to start and where to end but never how to get from A to B. I need to write in order so that the story line unfolds before me.

  5. Thank you so much for this blog post. I'm feeling so weak right now between life and school and homework and everything else that's it's been hard finding time to want to write because all I want to do is sleep the stress away. You reminded me how much of a reward this is and will be for me. Thank you.

  6. Whatplanet – slam that thing on out. I caught myself several times today putting off the writing for various reasons because someone/something was more important. We always place our needs dead last, and this is a great way to make up for all that self-denial. You go!

    I've got writing friends around here who need to write in order, Kanmuri, and I say do whatever works for you. That's the beauty of the NaNo – thosands of people making it all up as they go along. It's a good exercise in listening to what does work and what doesn't, don't you think?

    Megs, I know you can finish this. I also know the world hurls chaos at inopportune times. Nothing we can do about it but duck and keep typing. If you're anything like me, the thinking about it beforehand is always more stressful than finally getting into it. The writing, when it gets going, is delicious high.

  7. I needed this today, thanks! Being in Norway, I can't come to a write-in, but I'll be with all you other wrimos in spirit as I sit by myself writing tonight.

    And that inner editor? Going down.

  8. I have to say… So true. I am always going back and twinging things when i should be going forward. Ah well. Such if life.

    Coffee is SO God's gifted to the literacy suicidal!

  9. Great post.

    I'm really enjoying just exploring my story at the moment, without the editing (ish) and without feeling like I have to do it a certain way – I'm writing like you are: here and there, bits I fancy, scenes I'm interested in. La la la. No pressure.

  10. I've learned the hard way that giving the doldrums a skip to write more interesting chapters may boost my word count now, but then I find myself at the end of the month, mentally exhausted, and with nothing but the “blah” chapters left to write.

    The Week Two slump seems to happen to everyone. My story is still miraculously chugging along, but I find myself less enamored with it than when I dove in full of enthusiasm for this great story. Today, while I was pondering my story at work, Laurie Anderson's “Sweaters” popped into my head. I think it's a musical message from my subconscious.

    I no longer love your mouth.
    I no longer love your eyes.
    I no longer love the color of your sweaters.
    I no longer love it.
    I no longer love the way you hold your pens and pencils.
    I no longer love it.
    Your mouth.
    Your eyes.
    The way you hold your pens and pencils.
    I no longer love it.
    I no longer love it.

  11. Fantastic post, Monda. How do you find the time to blog AND NaNo?

    I was so antsy for November to get here, I immediately face planted coming out of the gate. I've since dusted myself off and found my stride. Why, just last night I penned, “He moved with all the grace of a retarded ocean wave.”

    Needless to say, I kept that little gem all for myself far away from the probing eyes of my Inner Editor.

  12. I haven't done my usual blog rounds since starting NaNoWriMo, but gave myself permission to do a little today. Love the picture at the top of the post and enjoyed reading your words of encouragement.

    I've been doing epic battles with my IE. He's pissed that I'm not giving him free reign and has resorted to guerilla warfare tactics. Every now and then, the wily bastard trips me up. But I'm getting better at avoiding his traps and moving on.

    Thanks for the pep talk.

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