Gearing Up for NaNo

letter-1697604_960_720The title might be a little odd considering I’m mostly a panster. I don’t plan my stories much besides jotting a few bullet points or a few scene descriptions. I don’t usually have a firm grasp on my characters other than what I know about them in my head, and I only have the briefest idea of a plot when I sit down and start writing.

With that being said, last November was a terrible time for me. It was my first real attempt at participating in NaNoWriMo, and I got about halfway in and started to hate every last detail about the book I was working on. Hate really isn’t strong enough. I loathed it and thought about tossing the whole thing in the trash several times.

Friends and rationality kept me from doing that, and after a few heavy revisions, the book was accepted for publication by Dreamspinner Press. Past the Breakers will be out next summer.

Regardless, the biggest problem I have with NaNo is the insistence that I lock away my inner editor. Coming from fandom where I upload chapters in more of a serial way, it was very difficult, and still is, for me to move on from a chapter without first having revised it a hundred times. And as I write this, I realize I’ve done the exact same thing in academia. I’ve spent most of my life revising as I go along, always rereading and editing before I even make it to the finish line.

But apparently this is frowned upon in the “real world.”

While I get the logic behind getting the story out before revising, it’s been very hard for me to break that ingrained habit. I’d like to, but my perfectionist brain has hindered me every time I’ve tried. Maybe that’s why I keep going back to NaNo regardless of how many times I’ve said I’d never participate again. Or perhaps that’s just my inner masochist.

Anyway, this post had a point…

As a panstery, my NaNo prep has nothing to do with plotting or outlining and everything to do with getting myself into the right frame of mind. After deciding to try NaNo once again, I’ve spent some time in the forums, which are really great. This morning I came across a thread for novel mission statements and decided to write my own. Hopefully this will remind me why I’m doing this if/when I hit the same kind of road blocks as last year.

Mission statement:

  • First, I want to get on track with my writing. I hope November will get me back into the habit of writing everyday, something I’ve really slacked off on the past few months.
  • Second, I want to focus on characterization. I’m writing a romance, but I want the characters to drive the story. I also want to explore the sexuality of one of my characters who is demisexual. That’s a new one for me. My other character is blind, and I’m excited to explore how he handles that as well.
  • Third, I want to get better at not editing as I go. I hope this year works out better for me in that regard.
  • And finally, I want to write something I’m happy with. This kind of ties in with number 3, but I’m terribly insecure with my writing, and I just hope I can sit back a little and not get so caught up in wanting the first draft to be perfect.

Anyone have any tips for surviving NaNo or how to shut up the ramblings of that inner editor?

My NaNo page | Last year’s novel | This year’s novel

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