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Thursday, November 03, 2011

“There's an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.” –Chris Baty

Resist the urge to edit. I know it’s tempting. I know you think you can control it, that just a word or two won’t hurt. But beside injuring a poor innocent writing angel, it shifts your energy from creating to judging. From writing to editing. There is a time and place for judging the quality of a word or sentence or image, a time to edit that image, but NaNoWriMo is not that time.

Focus on fresh words, on forward momentum. Every time you slow down to edit, you lose momentum. I bet you didn’t know it, but NaNoWriMo makes use of Newton’s first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. An object at rest tends to stay at rest. Which means it takes more energy to start something moving than it does to keep it moving.

Writing is motion. Editing is not.

Once you are writing, it is easier to keep writing. Once you stop to edit, you will have to exert more energy to start writing again. The point of NaNoWriMo is the harness the power of the first law of motion and use it to complete the first draft of a novel.

Now get into motion and stay in motion. A NaNoWriMo angel somewhere will thank you for it.

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