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Monday, October 31, 2011

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good."—Willlliam Faulkner

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, you will need a mantra (or three) like this one to pull yourself over the rough spots. If you hit a snag don’t stop writing. Shrug your shoulders and dive back in and write whatever crappy sentence you can as a placeholder to get you to the other side. It’s not about making a gorgeous first draft. It’s about writing as fast as you can, leaving the editor and the critic in the dust. Just get the story told first. Then you can go back and clean it up, polish it, dress it up for company. Focus on the story, not the specific words. If you get to a scene you can’t see clearly, write a few sentences about what you think goes there, and then move on to the next scene.

If you’ve never written this way before, give it a try. It’s exhilarating. It’s like flying. And believe it or not, the editing process isn’t any harder than it would be if you took lots of time to carefully craft each sentence. Yeah, the sentences may be beautiful, but the story may demand a whole different direction. If you sprint, you don’t spend a lot of time polishing sentences, paragraphs or whole scenes that you’ll end up throwing out later. Once you have the story out there, you can decide what to keep and what to toss, and then focus your energy on polishing only the parts you want to keep.

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