It's November, and it's NaNoWriMo (National Write Your Novel Month). 50,000 words in 30 days.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm participating again this year. This is my third year doing NaNo. I've never won it. But that doesn't matter. What matters to me is whether I or not I come out of it with a complete first draft. This my friends, is why I NaNo.
As writers, allowing ourselves to create a "shitty first draft" is advice that is pounded into our heads constantly. Even in my kids' writing classes at school, they are taught to make a "sloppy copy." As with all advice, it either works for you, or it doesn't. For me this piece of advice does.
My first drafting period is when I am at my most sensitive. This is when I am most open to hear the voices of the characters in my head; when I can see around that blind spot at the corner; when I can feel the wind blowing on my face or my hair tangling in the bristles of a brush. I am at my most vulnerable to everything. Most importantly, to the voices of my own self-doubt and fear.
The devil lies in wait in idle time. NaNo gives me a very short amount of time to work so that busy time helps keep my own personal devils at bay.
For thirty days, I can let my words fly. Not worry if my commas are misplaced, my subject-verb agreement is off, or my tenses make any sense. Not care if my character has blue eyes in one chapter, then green ones in the next. Or, if my plot point doesn't have, well, a point.
Once that first draft in completed, the extra hard work begins with preliminary revisions, critique, further revision, re-writing, and polishing. The amount of work that goes into making that piece into something to be offered for publication is another mountain to climb altogether.
For now, I'm starting at base camp.