by Katy White
This month, I'm working on NaNoWriMo and am a few hundred words short of crossing the 50,000 word mark. It's an exciting feeling, yet the thought of editing this particular first draft is giving me a bit of anxiety I don't normally have. This draft isn't as polished as my others have been. I didn't prepare well enough for NaNo (I switched projects only a few days before November), and I can feel that all over the place.
When I'm working on a WIP, I typically plan a little with the use of a beat sheet. I do a fair amount of research, which I organize in Scrivener (the best writing tool EVER--I'm not an overly detailed or ultra-organized person in regular life, but I am as a writer). Then, I write. I add more research as I need to, and every day, I start my writing time by reading and gently revising what I did the day before. The result is a fairly clean first draft (though it still needs editing and round upon round of critiques from my incredible critique partners).
With NaNo, though, I don't have the luxury of time to go back and revise what I did the day before. I rarely even read much of what was written the day before. I just start writing. When I reach a point that requires more research or very careful wording, I just write something like, "XXX--comic book joke," then come back to it later. That means that revisions are a bear. At least this time.
So...why do it this way? I'm wondering this a lot this month. I tell myself that it's a good exercise to learn to write using different methods. But is it really? I felt great about last year's NaNo novel and about the Camp NaNo novel I did this year, but both of them were very, very well planned in advance (much to my surprise). So even if I hadn't had a time constraint, I still would have drafted them quickly. Hmm.
What do you all think? Do you have any experience with something like this, when the WIP just feels clunky or a method stops working for you? Is it the idea? The lack of planning? Or is maybe NaNo not the right style for me right now? I'd love your input and advice for this stage in writing life.