Shortly after posting yesterday about National Novel Writing Month, I came across an excellent blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner. This is great advice that I wanted to share with those taking part in NaNoWriMo — or anyone working on a big writing project, really.
Now is NOT the time to self-edit or worry about all those writing tips you’ve been taught. Just write. Let the words flow. If you’ve been studying the craft, you’ll naturally be inclined to show more than tell, write snappy dialogue, and be aware of how much backstory you’re allowing in. That’s great. But don’t let yourself get caught up in those details. Keep the forward momentum going. Your best writing will happen in the revision process.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve talked before about maintaining some momentum, and will likely do so again. It really is THAT important to keep focused on steaming ahead when getting your first draft done. If you fret and debate and labor over every last line while writing your first draft, you’ll never finish your novel.
Yes, yes, yes, you consider yourself a perfectionist. You want every word to be perfect. Every line to sing. You believe in getting it right the first time.
And that’s why all your manuscripts are unfinished.
Just get. It. Done. Don’t fall into the old trap of writing the same five pages over and over and over again. When it’s time to begin hacking away at that first draft, then embrace your perfectionist side.
Now go write something.