The Editor and the Writer

Being a writer, I tend to sway more towards the insanity of life and how it plays out on paper. If it’ll look good in my journal, chances are I’ll do it. That’s been my way for some time now and it has gotten me into some terrible and incredible situations. Wanderlust has ever been the greatest fuel for those pages, and even now, I’m looking around for things to do that I know will really stand out when I look back on my life.

I’m not doing a lot of writing nowadays though, not nearly as much as I want to. With life slowly creeping in to bother me, I found myself leaning more towards the editing track than anything. Something about a misplaced semi-colon and having the ability to fix it, just gets me all crazy! I love to hate writers in these cases (Kids, learn the rules first, then write a story. It can make all the difference!).

So NaNoWriMo is coming up and I’m in the middle of finishing up a manuscript. I have nine days to go through an entire novel and make sure everything is in place and all is well with the world (as in commas, periods, capitals etc etc). How in the world does one jump from fixing everyone else’s messes, to making one myself?

Well, it’s not a hard process, but it does come with a few… quirks. One is the perfectionism of editing and how that can really kill your writing, especially if you’re fixing every little thing every other second. With NaNoWriMo, you don’t have time for that. You have to get down at least 1670 words every day in order to finish on time, and you never know when things are going to get in the way, so that number is often higher.

I have only done NaNoWriMo once, and that was last year. I can’t remember my word count exactly, but it was just over 10,000.

In other words, I didn’t get very far.

The reasons behind that were that I stayed in editor mode and kept on fixing everything. It had some great writing in it, stuff I’m still proud of, but it was never finished. When it comes to this sort of deadline, you really can’t be fixing and worrying about every little thing. In the words of Anne Lamott: “Write some shitty first drafts.”

That’s hard. That’s super hard. That’s especially hard when you’re the one fixing other shitty drafts and you’re in the habit of looking things over with such intensity that you can’t miss anything. I’m going to need to learn to sit back, relax, and get back to my writer self (which is a lot more crazy, but a lot more fun).

When I’m writing, there is nothing in the entire world that could make me happier. I’m on cloud nine, pumping out words like a machine, my mind whirring endlessly.

When I’m writing, I can fly.

Let’s see how NaNoWriMo goes this year….

(But first I have to finish this manuscript… )

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