When I first started this blog, my intention was to motivate myself and others to simply get the story written, without worrying about the tedious road ahead of revisions and publishing. After all, what is the point of letting your fears cripple you if you haven’t even written the novel? Sometimes we all need to be reminded to focus on the present, the things that are within our control, instead of being obsessed about the future.
In my first post, I talked about the advice I received from William Shawcross. I’d told him I was an aspiring writer but find myself hard pressed to continue sometimes even though I know where the story is headed. How do you deal with that? And so he shared with me the quote that he keeps next to his computer: Don’t get it right, get it written by James Thurber. I may not have gone and put up the quote next to my workspace but my blog serves as a reminder. And when I’m staring at a particularly bad piece of writing and tempted to press that delete button, I repeat that mantra to myself: Just get it written.
Camp NaNoWriMo kicked off a week ago and so far I have written 10,054 words out of my target of 50k words. I am still behind and will likely fall further behind during the week but that’s OK. I have 10k more words now than I started with.
NaNoWriMo is certainly not for everyone and I know a lot of people who are against the very concept. How can you produce a novel in a month? There are enough books out there already and we don’t need more NaNo-written novels cluttering the (virtual) shelves out there.
I think what’s important to remember is that NaNoWriMo never claimed you would have a publishable book in a month. It’s supposed to be getting that first draft out of you, which for some people, is one of the hardest things. NaNoWriMo is about forcing yourself to write freely, without care for grammar, voice, or any of those things. NaNoWriMo is about giving yourself permission to suck as you get that first draft out of you.
As Nora Roberts said, You can’t fix a blank page.
And that is what NaNoWriMo is about: turning your blank pages into pages filled with words. Once you’re done with that, then you can go back and fix it, in that little something called revisions. That is where you make your novel as close as possible to the perfect vision you had of it in your head.
So next time you find yourself frustrated with how horrible your writing is going, tell yourself: Don’t get it right, just get it written. (After all) you can’t fix a blank page.
Do you put up little reminders or quotes in your workspace? How do you quiet your inner editor as you go through your first draft?