It’s my one year blogoversary today. I’ve never noticed anniversaries on my blogs before, but WordPress has this handy feature where they tell you of it. I decided to celebrate the day with a confession.
It’s a doozy.
I [looks around] um…okay…I edited.
Lots of people tell you that for NaNoWriMo, editing is a no-no. Heck, I’ve probably said as much myself. First draft, just write, and all that…
The problem is, this doesn’t suit the perfectionist in me. And God help me, because there isn’t actually that much of a perfection streak in me left in the first place. Giving birth kind of put paid to that.
I tend not to care too much about typos, and problems in first drafts, but I do care about making sense. Or being pretty (in a logical kind of way). That’s my inner perfectionist talking. . I can’t sleep if there’s a large flaw discovered in my story. It has to work, darnit.
I’m the same with housework. I hate it, and I’m very good at being a modern woman and avoiding it until a relative is about to arrive on my front doorstep. So saying that, there’s nothing, repeat, nothing, as satisfying as looking around the house, or garden, after a good cleaning / weeding session, and realising that all that hard work actually achieved something. Something that can be seen, witnessed, and quantified. I imagine it’s what people who work on the land feel everyday.
Okay, that satisfactory glow only lasts for a few hours. Then the weeds or the dust comes back. But those few hours of satisfaction are pure gold. And they are the motivation that is the only thing to push me to go through the cycle of chores and sweat-making again in the future.
And I want that in my drafts too.
So. When necessary, during NaNoWriMo, I have been found…
…Going back and editing.
[You can breathe now].
Yeah, I edited. And it was good.
Today I squished two new scenes into the middle of my draft (I’m procrastinating against writing the final scene, it’s too…final…for right now). The two new scenes obviously had already-written scenes sitting around them. Causes and effects. So, getting the facts and time lines correct was important.
I edited quite a few scenes to allow for the new entries.
I lost wordcount, gained a few more elsewhere, but generally when I go back and re-read, I find I can cut quite a lot of dribble.
My novel, at least that section of it, is now a little dusted and weeded.
And I have the satisfactory glow.
NaNoWriMo is not meant to be about editing, or even bowing to the burden of quality. For many of the 300,000 participants this year, it will be solely about beating the odds, the inner editor and outer conflicts, to write 50K of words. That’s enough. If they do manage to get through the firstdraft, there are plenty of events such as March’s NaNoEdMo to help in editing those first shite drafts.
But some of us require a little more structure in our writing. Not being able to re-read or edit our work is debilitating and counter-productive to the whole experience of any writing marathon. If the story is calling out to be edited back in place, why not?
For me, it works. On the other hand…(see cartoon)
And that is my personal confession for the moment.