Nano-Oh No!

Workout Song of the Day: “MK Ultra” by Muse

So tonight ends the worldwide writing phenomenon known as NaNoWriMo. This is basically when writers devote the whole month of November to write a 50,000-word novel. This was my very first year to sign up for the event, and I was eager to bring the pain. I knew exactly what I was going to write about, I outlined chapters, I fell in love with my characters…and I stalled at just over 20,000 words. Yes, I still have until midnight to meet my goal, but I don’t love my characters THAT much to spend 30,000 words on them in one evening.

I’ll even be honest–I cheated a bit. I didn’t start a novel from scratch, which was part of the rules. Which could also be why I couldn’t meet the goal. You see, I was too invested in my novel. I cared so much about what would happen to the characters that I just didn’t want to write “junk.” Not to say that what I did write wasn’t junk; I just didn’t want write junk intentionally.

But I have that problem with all of my writing. Even though I know that a story still needs to be revised tremendously, I linger on every single word that I type. That’s right. Every. Single. Word. My cousin has this gift of finishing a short story in like a day or two. Me, give me about 2-3 weeks. I tend to over think instead of just getting it all out on paper first. I think that’s why I get a little defensive during workshops. I’ll slave away for days on a project, all while not turning off my internal editor. And then, when I receive “constructive” criticism (and I use this term lightly), I won’t write for days because I can’t understand how my workshop members don’t see all of the effort that I’ve put in my story.

Maybe I’m too sensitive. Maybe I don’t play well with others since I’m an only child. Or maybe I just need to shut up and write–forget about meaningful metaphors and subtle foreshadowing until the next revision. What do you all think? Do you prefer to edit while you write, or just get everything out and fret over the details later?

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