NaNoWriMo Update #2- Breaking the Rules in Week 2

Today is Day 14 of NaNoWriMo!
By the end it, you should have written at least 23,333 words
What’s your word count?

Seeing as I have a big fancy to-do to attend tonight (for Tanner’s work. Even bought a dress for it), I know that having any post-work time to write is an impossibility. So my final word count today is 25,650. It’s a good place to be. I’m still ahead of the game, and I’ve made great progress this week. It is, one might notice, significantly less than last week’s word count (where I wrote 15,011 words, meaning I only wrote 10,639 this week alone). And that’s 100% due to the fact that I have been breaking the rules by rewriting.

Experienced NaNo-ers are probably shaking their head over this. After all, isn’t the point of NaNoWriMo to allow yourself to suck? To write without abandon, to not go back and revise, as that way leads to madness?

In many ways, that’s true. The trap of never really progressing, to only rewrite the same things over and over again is a dangerous one. You really do need to accept the fact that first drafts are not only imperfect, but highly flawed and, sometimes, actually pretty bad. That’s what revisions are for.

For me, it was the fact that I couldn’t see myself moving forward until I went back. As I’ve mentioned before, in this novel I have four central characters whose perspective I shift between. I was having a hard time getting the feel for them all down, so I knew that before I could move these characters to the next level, I needed to get a better feeling for who they were in the beginning. And I’m really glad that I did.

This has made me think a lot about revising/rewriting during NaNo. I actually think it can work, but would recommend the following if you still want to hit 50k by the 30th.
1. Don’t do it until you’re ahead. Like, more than a few hundred words ahead. Behind ahead by a few thousand words last week gave me lots of room to play with. As a result, even though I’ve made some cuts, I’ve never fallen under par for my daily word count.
2. You still need to be adding to the overall word count of you manuscript. Whether this be in the form of fleshing out existing scenes, or adding in new material all together, your story still needs to be growing and progressing. I did both this week. Notice I did not say “write endless description that you know you’re going to cut out later” or other tricks I’ve seen people do to artificially inflate their word counts (like removing all of the contractions, which only results in your dialogue sound unnatural). Seriously, you’re just making more work for yourself during revisions. Still, make sure your novel continues to grow and progress each day, or this is where you fall into the trap of revising the same shit over and over again and not getting anywhere.
3. You need to set aside more daily writing time than you’d initially planned on for NaNoWriMo. Because revisions take time.
4. No wordsmithing. This is not the place for it. As mentioned above, rough drafts don’t need to be perfect.

Hope everyone is doing well. If not, well it’s only the halfway mark. Plenty of time to double down and catch up!

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