With November, comes the NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. It's a nonprofit organization that challenges us to write 50k words in the month of November. I have done the challenge for many years on and off, depending on busyness.
Wielder's Prize was the first novel I wrote via the challenge. Sitting at around 80k words, it obviously got extra attention after the challenge finished, but it gave me such a great kick start. I learned a lot about the benefits of writing that dreaded first draft quickly.
While I have written a post about the Advantages of Writing a Fast First Draft, I would like to expand on the benefits. Writing quickly means:
1. Setting aside that inner editor.
While it's great to have an analytical inner editor, during the story creation, it can slow down the process too much. That inner editor can trip us up and become a hindrance. We end up using it as a procrastination tool. For example, if you're stuck on a story beat, you might go back and start editing earlier content. You call it writing, but really it has stopped you from facing a hurdle that needs jumping.
If, instead, you're focused on writing the story down quickly, knowing you'll edit later, you can tackle those tricky plot problems that might crop up, the beats, the characters, the actual story.
2. Keeps you focused on the big picture.
Writing quickly helps you remember those plot threads you've woven into the story, to keep them consistent. It helps you work on the pacing and the general flow. When you stop after a page or a paragraph to do something else, you have to return and waste time reminding yourself where you were up to. Often the flow is forgotten, the pace becomes jerky, or a character has changed traits. It becomes harder to fix later.
When writing that first draft, staying focused on the bigger picture is so important. It's so much easier when you reduce the breaks between writing.
3. Helps to avoid overthinking.
Fear and doubt are a writer's worst enemy. We might come up with a brilliant idea, but if we overwork it, start questioning it, or have time to doubt ourselves, then it will die before it even had a chance. Writing quickly pushes all that aside until we can get a proper grasp on the story.
4. More productivity.
Productivity means more stories and more sales. When someone finds your book and loves it, they'll go looking for more of your books. The best way to have more is, obviously, to write more. The bigger your backlist, the easier it is to sell. So rather than deliberating over a phrase here and there before even completing the story, leave that minutiae for the editing phase.
5. Stops us wasting precious time.
I'm guilty of spending too much time on a scene before finishing the first draft. When it came to editing, I ended up deleting that scene. Sometimes you won't know if a section works until you've finished the rest of the story. Why waste time on it before you know if it's there to stay?
What holds you back from writing quickly? If you've participated in NaNoWriMo, what benefits did you discover?
This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month, members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.