#NaNoWriMo: Quantity Over Quality

Sorry for the delay! This holiday week has been a mess for me!

Every year I hear the same things from new NaNoWriMo participants. Everything they’re writing is terrible. They hate every word. None of it is good. They get discouraged and stall, trying to write something better moving forward.

I want to tell every single one of these writers to just stop and let everything be absolutely terrible.

NaNoWriMo is quantity over quality. The goal is 50K of words, not the best words you’ve ever written.

First Drafts Are Terrible

I am a firm believer that the first draft should be absolutely terrible. There can be nuggets of great ideas and sentences, but overall the first draft isn’t good. It’s where you drop the story for the first time. You put all the words down so you have something to edit. That’s the point of a first draft. I even know those who work with a zero draft method which works well for those who are panters (though I think there’s an outline for every type of writer which I’ll get into at a different time).

If you think your first draft is good, more than likely you’ve been editing as you go. This means, in theory, it’s not your first draft! The first time you put down words can look messy. There can be spelling and grammar errors. There will be characters with changing names (or eye colors).

The second, third, fourth, fifth….drafts are what make your story whole. It’s what makes your story good. I’m sure even famous writers (the ones you look up to) would scoff at their first drafts.

It’s okay if every word you write during NaNo is garbage. Mine is. I’m just throwing down all my thoughts, all my points. I’m getting out all the information I want people to know and I’ll polish it next round…over and over until it’s good enough.

So please don’t give up. If your words are terrible, keep going. If you need to change tenses half way through do it! If you realize one of your characters should be different in anyway, go for it. Make a note of the change and keep writing. You can fix it in draft two.

That’s the point.

Let me know how your writing journey is going so far. Is your first draft so terrible you want to quit? What helps you keep going? Let me know in the comments below.

Once again I’m sorry this is late. This holiday week has really messed with my head. I’ve been working from home as well and completely lost track of the days. I’m a mess.

If you plan on travelling this holiday, stay safe. And keep writing.

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