Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNo Pitfall #2

Before I get started, thanks to everyone who wished me a speedy recovery.  Unfortunately, this hip thing is related to my accident - almost sixteen years ago - and it's not something to recover from so much as something to just deal with.  (More about that another time maybe.)

Now onward to the post I meant to write two days ago...

NaNo Pitfall #2 or... OMG, this sucks!

So, other than the last couple days, I've been writing my little fingers into fat sausages.  I got past the first pitfall (or as someone else put it on another blog - the cardinal rule of NaNo) - don't go back and read what you've written - by slogging through.  The problem with slogging through is you may find yourself in the second NaNo pitfall...

OMG, this sucks!

As you write, you may find yourself thinking that the scenes you're slapping down are probably the worst pieces of dreck you've ever seen.  "It was a dark and stormy night..." looks like Pulitzer material by comparison.  And you know no one is ever going to want to read such crap.

Okay, here's the thing.  Most likely you're right.  It sucks, it's dreck, and no one is going to want to read it.

Now, before you get out the matches and bonfire your manuscript, I want you to understand something important.  What you're writing now is a FIRST DRAFT.  I'm willing to bet that most first drafts - even by the bestselling authors - are crap they wouldn't want anyone to read.  As awful as those first drafts might be, though, those authors kept writing them because they all knew another important fact:

You can't fix what isn't written.

So, no matter how horrible it may feel to you right now, you keep writing.  Hell, several chapters back, I wrote a scene I knew was awful.  Here's the thing about writing awful scenes, though: During editing, it'll either be cut or will end up as a completely different animal by the time I'm ready to query.  I needed the crap scene to get to the next scene, so I wrote it and I refuse to apologize for it. Even to myself. 

I wrote it.  I can fix it later. 

While you're writing, don't worry so much about how every word will sound.  Don't pick at yourself for writing crap.  Even if you're not doing NaNo, but you're having a tough time finishing a manuscript, just write and worry about fixing the problems later. 

Now it's your turn.  Ever hit this pitfall?  Did you get past it or trash your manuscript?  If you got past it, let us know how in the comments.


  1. "ever hit this pitfall"? Are you kidding! LOL I have been in it for the last weekend, during which I managed to write the wonderful, magnificent, awesome amount of 400 words. A long weekend, from Friday to Wednesday. :-D
    It didn't help to tell myself to take this as an exercise in the practice of writing, that I just need to write, ANYTHING, cite the dictionary, for G-d's sake, if nothing else! Copy passages from already written books, anything. No. I haven't written a word, because right now, all the words I write suck :-D

  2. This pitfall is probably my biggest problem when I'm writing. I get discouraged easily and quit before I have the chance to finish.

    -Darling Daughter

  3. Great post, as usual.

    This happens to me all the time. Although I've never just dropped a manuscript, I do have troubles overcoming the problems. Generally I just slog my way through, very slowly. Eventually it gets written, but during that time I'm very discouraged.

  4. LOL! I'm working on my fifth book, and I hit that point every time. Just keep on slugging, and never give up. I entirely agree with you - I can't fix what I didn't write.

  5. I've never trashed a ms. I've finished everything. I think I'm stubborn that way.