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Well, it’s been an interesting November so far. I’ve learned several things by trying NaNoWriMo for the first time. Biggest one is that it doesn’t work for me. I do have thousands of words written but I discovered a basic truth about the way I write: I go nuts if I don’t start each session with a brief edit of what I wrote the day before.

That may seem a small thing, but when I finally gave in to the desire to go back, take another look–rewrite, for God’s sake–my forward momentum died an ugly death. I was becalmed in my little sailboat of a writing routine and couldn’t catch any wind to return to the race. My focus had become fixed on piling up words, not discovering the heart of them. I kept finding half-thoughts tripping over each other, the kind of plot issues that don’t become a problem if you find them and deal with them every day. (Well, sometimes they sure as hell do, we all know that, but if your ears are filled with the ticking of the clock, it’s harder to deal with.) I floundered around for a while, fell into a pit of despair over an unsolvable plot snarl, and threw up my hands…and nearly my lunch. Ugly, my friends, ugly.

And then came the dawn. I would do what I always do (no, not try to take over the world, Pinky and the Brain fans.) I’d continue writing, I’d try to speed up a bit, but not at the expense of the incremental editing that appears to jump-start my brain. At the end of November I will add up all the words (and post them on Twitter and/or here, since I never actually signed up for NaNoWriMo.) And I’ll keep going until I’ve finished the book. And then I’ll go through the manuscript again and again until I’m ready to show it to readers.

I was really hoping the pressure of NaNoWriMo would bulldoze me through the slow patches. Came to find out the slow patches are where my writing happens.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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