Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On Having an Inner Editor

Photo from
Hello All!

We are in the first week of NaNoWriMo, and your word count is hopefully rising. After all, there's no time to waste if you plan on achieving 50,000 words by the end of the month. 

With all the rushing, I find I have no time to edit my previous day's work. But, then I realized: NaNo, for me, isn't about editing. It's about getting the first crude draft into existence. Write first, edit later. That's my goal for the upcoming weeks.

So, here are some tips I'm implementing to silence my inner editor:

Type in white

This takes some practice (I'm not quite there, just yet), but it can be very useful if you find yourself going back to edit every line after you've written it. From a visual perspective, this helps me to keep going forward because I can't see the glaring mistakes from the words on the screen.

Turn off spelling/grammar checks 

This one is difficult for me. But, if those squiggles of red and green irk you to no end unless you fix it, then maybe try this one out. You can always go back later and fix spelling and grammar. But you can't fix something that doesn't exist yet.


I love this little program because it keeps me from being distracted. This program "hides away" the chunks of writing you are not working on, only highlighting the sentence, paragraph etc. that you are working on. You can change the setting to fit your style, choose from several different background themes, and even set daily writing goals. 

Don't Reread

This one gets me every time. I sit down to write, and I have the need to go back and reread the previous day's progress as a warm-up. If rereading doesn't cause you to second-guess yourself and want to edit everything, then do it. It can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing.

But, if this isn't you, then try not to reread. There is a time and place for rereads, but now, during NaNo or a word sprint, is not one of them.

Let It Go

No, please don't break into song. Please, for the love of all that is good, don't sing that song from a certain movie.

All jokes aside, know that there is no need to be perfect. First drafts are meant to be messy! They are meant to be raw and unpolished and gnarly. There's nothing wrong with this. Of course, being a perfectionist, simply "letting go" is much easier said than done. Understand that imperfection does not equal failure. 

Create a "Deleted Scenes" File

Thanks to a friend of mine for suggesting this! Create a "Deleted Scenes" word document, and put all of the scenes, dialogues, and pieces of world-building that you decide will not fit into your novel. Do not permanently delete work, just move it to a new home. And who knows...maybe it will be recycled one day! I like this tip because it keeps me from thinking I've wasted a day of writing by deleting all of the things I "didn't quite like". 

What other things can you do to silence your inner editor? Let me know in the comments below! 

As always, these are suggestions. If rereading your work helps with confidence, creativity, and flow without bogging you down, then reread! If you need to use spelling checks to ease your mind about your output, go ahead! But, don't get lost in the trees and forget to see the wonderful forest in front of you.

☆May your words be great and your pages many☆

No comments:

Post a Comment