What I Learned from NaNoWriMo this Year

I know you’re out there. You’re like me. You’re the self-editors.

You can’t write a bad draft. You write some, think about that, fix it, and evaluate it. In a best case scenario, this works for you. Life goes on, and you write a story. In a worst case scenario, you have a lot of unfinished stories.

Let’s live in a different world for a moment. Let’s give ourselves permission to make a mess. A gooey, gloppy, precarious mess. The Leaning Tower of Pisa of all messes. Messes that scream Jenga!

Bryon and I have very different approaches to creativity. My husband has been known to scream through the house on a bender. He will leave swaths of discarded material. He will glue where he ought not glue. He leaves scissors in hidden piles of debris. It’s almost like his creativity is loosed from its cage and it runs all over the house, knocking over the furniture.

I create more like a prissy cat. I make piles. I put away instruments. I clean up after myself.

This year, in NaNo, I didn’t clean up after myself. Loads changed in the draft. Pieces of it are crap. But I played around and I got dirty, and I had a fine time doing it.

I dunno. Maybe those folks who write complete first drafts are totally onto something. Maybe. I’d be willing to try it again, the messy approach, and see what I find out.

It’s kind of nice to have a whole mess of words, and not have agonized over them.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “What I Learned from NaNoWriMo this Year”

  1. Yes! I’m an editor and proofreader by trade, and it kills me as a writer. This is the first year I’ve won NaNoWriMo, in fact, the first year I’ve lasted more than just a few days. Parts of my first draft are utter crap, I’m certain. But I HAVE a first draft of a 50,000+ word novel now. I’m still kind of riding the high from that.

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