Every November there is a big and very nerdy international event of significance only to writers: National Novel Writing Month. The basic idea is to write 50,000 words between 1-30 November. It’s supposed to encourage people to stop procrastinating / agonising over every word and just write. Your 50,000 words don’t have to be any good; they just have to exist.
I find this very freeing. The thing about writing is that when you first start doing it you’re generally terrible. And the only way to not be terrible at it is to let yourself continue writing whilst you are terrible at it. This can be difficult if you’re anything like me. In another life, I worked as an editor, which made me intensely conscious of my own writing’s terribleness. Trying to learn to write while a critic sat on my shoulder and agonised over every adverb went about as well as you’d expect.
NaNoWriMo taught me how to turn off my inner editor. Editing is great, but the writing has to come first. You can’t edit a blank page.
I don’t always do NaNoWriMo, but this year the timing coincides nicely with my schedule, which has me finishing Book 4 in my Stariel Series before the end of the year (Optimism! Yay!). Right now I’m frantically trying to nail down some semblance of plot, ready to start writing on 1 November.
Wish me luck!