I just want to go on record and say the hardest part of NaNoWriMo isn’t producing 50K words in a month (although I have failed to do so the past four years….). No, I think the most difficult thing is the lack of editing necessary to move forward.
I’m not just referring to typos, although they certainly have a habit of rearing their ugly heads at the most inopportune times. I’m talking about writing a chunk of text, only to realize several paragraphs later it would be better if it was moved to another part of the chapter, or setting a scene in motion and then finding it should be from another character’s perspective.
Not going back and editing is a NaNo tenant, and probably the only way someone like me–whose time is limited, to say the least–can hope to achieve the end goal, but it’s really difficult. The first few lines are like a broad brush stroke on an empty canvas. But as the words start flowing, I get a view of the bigger picture and realize a lot of the details are missing. It’s hard to not go back and rewrite paragraphs I know are weak, or add in characters I establish later on and wish had been present at previous scenes. At the end of the month, my canvas might be full of color, but that doesn’t inherently make it art.
But that’s not the goal of NaNo, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. If all goes well, I will have a complete or close to it rough draft of a book I’ve wanted to write for a few years now. It may be nowhere near ready for publishing, but it will have taken its tenuous first steps toward becoming a book. I just need to get to it and push forward.
Besides, between The Shadow Within, Together Alone and my NaNo book, I’m going to be neck-deep in edits for a long, looong time. I might as well enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about it for now.