Just Get It Written

Dream, Create, and Make It Happen …

Crush The Inner Critic, Camp NaNoWriMo Style


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.

Get it written2-1

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?


29 thoughts on “Crush The Inner Critic, Camp NaNoWriMo Style

  1. Getting that first draft down is the most important thing, when I first started writing and wanting to make a career from it, I struggled. I thought my first draft would have to be perfect, and got so upset when it obviously wasn’t 😀 Then I learned editing is the magical process, and the first draft, for me, is about getting down something to work on later.

    Great post! 🙂

  2. I love the saying on that card. Brilliant quotation which I’m going to try and keep in mind when I’m struggling.

  3. Awesome… that IS inspiring.

  4. Oh wow 10k?! Congrats. Thanks for posting this, I really needed to read it. Makes me want to catch up on my NaNo novel. I don’t have many inspirational quotes hung up in my office, but I’m thinking of doing it. That way, when I look away from the computer screen, a piece of wisdom is staring me in the face.

    • I had a pretty productive writing weekend thanks. 🙂 I’m glad you found the post helpful. Good luck getting back into the groove of writing. I change my desktop wallpaper every now and then just to keep things different. I find those little quotes do help when you need it the most.

  5. It’s so true, it can be so hard to keep going with a story when your internal editor is pooh-poohing everything you write!

    I’m doing NaNo too and I have found it invaluable for forcing me to push ahead. ACtually have a heard of something called write or die? It’s a piece of software in which you can set word targets for a given time and if you fall behind it starts to play horrible sounds so you have to quickly keep writing to make it stop. A bit controversial but it sure does force you to type those words out! 😉

    And well done on your word count! As you say you now have 10k words that you didn’t have before and that’s always encouraging!

    • I’ve heard of Write Or Die. I thought it eats your words if you stopped typing? Seemed too extreme for me lol. The annoying sound might work except my neighbors would probably start banging on my door lol. Good luck with Camp! Hit me with a nanomail if you wanna buddy up over there. My user name is maggie_hk.

  6. Telling myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect while I flesh out my story is the hardest part of writing….for me. I’m a perfectionist by nature. That tendency seems to knock me about the head when I try to control it.

    That is exactly the reason I loved doing NaNoWriMo this past November. The demand of a word count kept me moving despite my perfectionist side….I should also mention I have a competitive side so that side is fueled by the need to succeed.

    Thanks for another great post and….keep moving on that Camp NaNo project. I have faith in you.

    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

    • I agree that a competitive streak is invaluable to NaNoWriMo. If you don’t care one way or another about winning then there are many ways to justify not hitting your goal. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and cheering me on!

  7. Thank you for visiting my blog – Following The Dream. Good luck with NaNoWrite. 🙂

  8. Woohoo! Celebrating your 10k words with you! I love NaNoWriMo. It helped me kick my inner editor to the curb while writing. Before, I fussed over this sentence and that…goodness, how was I ever going to write a novel if I couldn’t get over editing and re-editing the first page? 2012 was my first NaNoWriMo and I wrote last year, too. What amazes me is that I moan and groan for about 900 words with no idea where the story is even going and then magic happens–it goes. I don’t care if I get a name wrong, typos, or the plot seems weird…I just write and soon the writing is informing me about the story. I agree with you that NaNoWriMo does not claim that anyone will publish a book in a month. I refer to my NaNoWriMo writings as projects. I can revise, research, rewrite…but I have pages to work with. Writing is different from publishing. Publishing is about marketability–can this book sell? But that’s not why I write. It’s why I revise. You’ll have to tell me about Camp NaNoWriMo…I’m not as familiar with it. Keep at it!

    • The difference between Camp and the official Nano is just we can set our own wc goals for Camp and write whatever we want (short stories, revisions, etc). You also get assigned to a cabin with 11 other participants and there’s a message board within your cabin where you all can talk, help each other out, etc. I’m really liking it and there’s supposed to be a summer camp in July. Not sure if I’ll participate in that one. I’m focusing on April for now. 😀

  9. Yes, one of the things I find most important to do when I’m writing a song is to record a (very) rough version of myself singing it. Getting the song in some sort of “tangible” form, regardless of whether I’m ever going to play it for anyone else, and being able to hear it, usually inspires me to keep working on it.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective from a musical standpoint. I like that last part especially, about how you’re more inspired to work on it once you have the tangible form. It definitely is a different feeling, once you actually see/hear the “end product” of what you had in your head. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Wow, 10,000 words in such a short period of time. That’s great! Love the Nora Roberts quote. Best of luck to you with your writing!

  11. Indeed that is they way to be, even if it is crap you have to get it down or you’ll never know for sure it is crap.

  12. Pingback: I Am Done! | Just Get It Written

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