Tuesday, November 3, 2015

You Can't Edit a Blank Page

It's November. Otherwise known in the writing world as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Are you accepting the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month?

I've done NaNo every November since I started writing back in July of 2011. If we're being perfectly honest, the philosophy of beating NaNo is my wheelhouse.

Write like heck and don't care what you put down on the page.

But this is really hard for many authors. There's this profound need to make sure every word chosen fits, and the characters and story ARC weave perfectly through the novel. The desire to create a beautiful piece of literature is so strong, that it can be crippling. To the point where we're frozen with our hands above the keys, begging the words to find their way onto our computer screen. 

We're scared, because what if the words aren't enough? What if the emotion and story we're trying to convey, falls flat? What if the image we have in our head for this fantastic tale that only we can tell, doesn't transfer to our readers like we hope?

The answer to all these questions is: 
It will. Eventually.

I was sitting with my friend, author Jessica Salyer, on the first day of NaNo, asking her what I should write about for the blog post for Cookie Lynn, and she told me this amazing quote she heard from Nora Roberts.

"You can't edit a blank page."

How this quote translates to me is, in our first draft we're free. Free to write whatever we want. There is no judgement, no limits. Whatever we put on that page could be for our eyes only, or might eventually make it into a final draft. 

Doesn't that kind of freedom sound amazing?

And now, during NaNo, this is especially the case, because the whole point of this challenge is to write down words. Words we might never use. Words that give us goose bumps and connect to our theme in ways we never imagined. 

The point of this month is to write.

The last thought I'll leave you with is this: 
If you surround yourself with honest and invested partners, your worst fears for your work will never come true. Because those you have in your corner will never let it happen.

So this month, be free.

Write with no limits.

Because it's impossible to edit a blank page.

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