Although I haven’t done NaNoWriMo, I’ve read about it and conversed with people who’ve done it. Dedicating a specific time to write a first draft, writing straight out of your imagination, is a wonderful concept. I just wish somebody had picked March, which, for me, is the least cluttered month. To reach 50,000 words by Dec. 1, a writer must be dedicated and focused. But if you find yourself flagging, if all your preparations in October are holding you back instead of propelling you forward, then I advise that for NaNoWriMo let your imagination soar.
But before you unleash your imagination, you must …
Send Your Internal Editor on Vacation
If you’ve written for very long, you know who I mean. That part of your brain that has to start polishing even before you have finished a scene. The internal editor has no reason to stick around for NaNoWriMo. So let her pick her favorite vacation spot, help her pack, and say farewell with hugs and kisses and an order not to contact you until Dec. 1. The internal editor will most likely ignore your request (mine is particularly rude), but it is imperative that you stand firm. I knew my internal editor could cramp my creativity but I didn’t understand why until I talked to my youngest sister who homeschools.
She said she assigns the first draft of a writing project one day and then the editing the next day because the two tasks are so different and require using different parts of the brain. That’s probably why my creativity can dry up in a first draft–my internal editor overwhelms the free-spirited artist in me.
Now with your internal editor is enjoying a much-needed rest …
Let Your Imagination Soar
Without your internal editor to hamper you, now is the time to explore your story. If a scene isn’t working, try these tactics:
- Write the scene from the perspective of another character.
- Add characters.
- Remove characters.
- Change the setting.
- Examine your setting to take better advantage of it.
- Have a bad guy do something good.
- Have a good guy do something bad or foolish.
- Work against stereotypes–like creating a nice cheerleader or a science geek who’s an extrovert.
- Write extra scenes to get a handle on a difficult character.
- Let the worse thing that can happen to your main character happen.
- Have a friend turn into an enemy.
- Have an enemy turn into a friend.
For more posts related to NaNoWriMo, click here. What has been your experiences doing NaNoWriMo?