Leading by [poor] example

Every year I find that I challenge my local WriMos to do things the right way, despite the fact that their ML (that’s me) doesn’t.

“Turn off your inner editor!” I tell them, while continually editing, revising, and amending my writing from the previous day, hour, minute.

“Write quickly. Just let it flow!” I agonize over every word. (I’m renowned for writing 67 words during a 15 minute sprint. Believe me, that’s not far from the norm for me)

“It’s never too late! Don’t panic if you fall behind!” As I race forward as rapidly as possible, utterly terrified of falling behind in my word count.


This year, I find myself in a very strange position. I’m still up to my usual tricks—constant editing, plodding daily progress, panic at the idea of not finishing with at least a few days buffer.


I AM behind. Or barely ahead. It depends on the day. I have no buffer.

I HAVE turned off part of my inner editor. I still tweak words and phrases. But there are major plotlines that are wrong in my story, and…I haven’t gone back to fix them yet.

Now that’s peculiar, especially for me.

I’ve also had my very first epiphany day, which usually strikes much earlier in the process. Last night I managed to dream up some very clever ideas for my story, for both things already written, and things yet to hit the screen.

But unlike other years, I haven’t done anything with the ideas for revision other than wake up, write down copious notes (make sure you have a way of recording your sleepy ideas during NaNoWriMo. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up, thought, “Eureka!” and then fallen back to sleep, only to wake the next morning with the brilliant idea gone). I’ve not added those ideas. I trust that they’ll be added eventually. But for now, I’m letting them marinate for a bit. I’m staying the course, writing forward, and resisting the urge to fix what’s already done.

I seem to be following my own advice, at least a tiny little bit. It feels very, very odd. Freeing. Frustrating. Different. But not necessary wrong.

And it only took nine years to get to this point.

Who knows? By my 20th year of NaNoing, maybe I’ll be letting punctuation and spelling errors slip past as I type pure stream of consciousness at one-hundred-plus words per minute.

Yeah, right!

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