Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Write with the heart...

I'm not sure who said it first but I've printed it out and posted it on the corkboard next to my desk where I can see it often.

"Write the first draft with the heart; the second with the head."

And that is just what NaNoWriMo is about. 

When we write with our heart, we write the story that lives within us.  We say to heck with the rules and write.  We tell our inner editors to take a hike and get words on the page.

So, it's time to start coming up with a plan to deal with your inner editor.  Here's a couple things that work for me.

Revise a bit of the previous day's writing to get warmed up.

Tell the inner editor there will be no revising and then when you get the urge to do so, ignore it.  (Not as easy as it sounds and she'll protest but keep ignoring and she'll soon go sulk.)

Make a note in your manuscript to remind yourself to fix the spot later.  Something like **fix later** works well.

I've had problems with my inner editor but the more I strive to "write the first draft with the heart" the easier it's become.

So, how about sharing any tips that work for you  and your inner editor.


  1. Remembering the hell I went through trying to edit as I wrote "The Sisterhood" is enough to keep me from doing it ever again. For a long while the co-author and I were just stuck on the same few chapters because we kept trying to make them perfect before moving on. It wasn't until I said, "I'm just going to finish this thing" that it began to move along.

    The one thing about internal editors during the writing process is that I don't feel they are always right. They force you to think too much and that stifles your creativity. Allowing the words to just flow often turns out better prose for me.

    I like you calling your IE a shoulder vulture. A simple note taped to your monitor that reads, "Don't listen to the shoulder vulture" could help motivate someone to avoid editing while they go.


  2. My vulture's favorite words are, "This is crap." I have to clamp down on my tear ducts and tell my vulture, "Of course it is!" A first draft is words on paper; that's all I'm going for. I need to get those words down, then I can worry about making it bestselling author perfect.

    My biggest problem is I know I'm not hitting all the emotional points. I know something needs to be more descriptive, carry more character voice, more emotion - and the hardest part is to keep writing. For me it's accepting what I put down right now doesn't matter. I'll fix it later.

    More than anything, it's about persistence. My ferrets have that trick down, let me tell you. My poor carpet! It's time I take a lesson from them and stick with the writing.

    - Chrissy

  3. I've not tried it yet but I know I'm going to have some problems with it. My normal style is to write like mad, then stop and go over what I just wrote, do some tweaking and then write like mad again. I think it is going to be hard to not use the little breathers to tweak.

    Death to the shoulder vultures!


  4. Doing NaNo totally drove that point home to me. Before last year, I had NEVER finished a manuscript because of the need to have it perfect. But the mad dash to 50,000 made it okay to just write without involving your head and leave it the heck alone until the edit and rewrite stage. And yes, down with the shoulder vultures!