So I won’t lie, the past few weeks haven’t been easy. It took a lot of late nights, plenty of car-writing, and a lot of jotting ideas down in a notebook when I really should’ve been doing something else. But I’m happy to say that of 50,000 words, I’m already at 37,608.
But like I said, it was hardly a walk through the park with a slice of chocolate cake. When I’m writing, I have to just remind myself that it’s okay if the words aren’t perfect yet. Earlier in my journey as a writer, this was one of the hardest things for me. Now, I’m at a point where as soon as I fret about a word choice, I’m able to remind myself (many times, out loud during a conversation with myself) that the first draft is really never the one that gets published. Well, unless you’re not a human. Or you live at the end of a rainbow.
I could say it like this: writing a story is like raising a child. Draft #1 is about letting the story make a big stinking mess. Apple sauce gets smushed into the carpet, a toy engine gets smashed through the computer screen, drool gets on the hardwood floor and car keys go missing. It keeps you up until two o’clock in the morning and makes you wanna bang your head against the desk.
What can you do? Babies will be babies. But there’s a time to make a mess, and there’s a time to clean it up.
Eventually your story will grow, get stronger, get rejected by the first five publishers and accepted by the sixth. It’ll make millions, and possibly end up paying off your mortgage. If you’re really lucky, maybe it’ll bring its wife and kids by on Thanksgiving, even let you pinch its chubby little cheeks again.
Ehh. My point? There’s plenty of time for perfection LATER. If I can speak from opinion, NaNoWriMo is hardly about perfection. Hell, it’s not really even about finishing (though it is part of the reason, but hear me out). NaNoWriMo is about ending up with more words at the end of the month than you had at the beginning. It’s about turning off your inner editor and sticking with your story, writing words whether they’re good or not so you can move on to draft #2, editing, the important stuff.
So don’t be ashamed if your word count is lagging. You’re already trying to do something most people will only talk about doing. You made words this month. You’re a winner in my book, whether or not you “win.”
Don’t forget to check out the CampNaNo word sprints on Twitter, using #NaNoWordSprints! I personally have found them to be very beneficial to my word count. How has your CampNaNo been going? Feel free to share your word counts in the comments!