Thursday, November 4, 2010

Working the Words

At this time of NaNo, it brings out into the open the dirty underbelly of writing. Internal editing, that horrid little voice inside our heads that keeps us from putting anything down because we're sure it's all trash.

But writing 1600 to 2000 words a day means that we have to write, write, write, and refuse to allow that nasty internal editor to come in and camp out.

I have to admit, I have a penthouse apartment for my internal editor. She comes and stays for months on end. I've been trying to evict her for years, but I keep forgetting that she has a spare key to the back door.
But today Nikki, as part of the Mormon Mommy Writers yahoo group, issued a word challenge. Write as much as you can in 20 minutes. Set the time and just go.

So even though I'm not officially doing NaNo this year, I am working on a new project and I thought as long as life is holding steady in limbo, I could try to work some on it using this challenge. So this morning I gave it a shot. (I have to confess here that even though the writing was all in 20 minutes, that period of time was interspersed in about a 2 hour period as the demands of motherhood interfered, but I didn't go out of that 20 minute allotment.)

It was HARD. I wanted to fiddle and fix, and when I wasn't sure about a fact I wanted to go and do some research. My internal editor (her name it Mitzy, by the way. Don't ask me why.) was screaming the whole time to slow down, examine things, noting how many times I used the word "looked" and shouldn't I go and find a better word and rework that sentence, shouldn't I be trying harder to vary sentence length and I definitely had to add some more description here so better go back and fix it.

But when I was done, I had over 750 words on the page. And I could fix and fiddle all I wanted with now I just need to kidnap Mitzy and secure her with copious amounts of duct tape until the 1st draft is done. Then she can edit to her heart's content.

So even though I'm sure you've heard this before, give yourself permission to write page after page of garbage before you let your editor loose (whatever his or her name is.)


  1. I too am finding it nice to leave my inner editor behind. It's fun to just write comes into my head and see where it goes. It's been a long time since I've let myself do this. It's long overdue!

  2. I need to try that. My inner editor NEVER leaves me alone...

  3. Great advice. One of my tricks is to just draw a line on the page when I can't think of a better word, and move on. It is a reminder to me to come back later & fill it in.

  4. great advice.
    my internal editor doesn't have a name, but I do try putting her in time out while I write.



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