Whether I feel like I’m cruising through a bit of writing or struggling against it, I’m always more soaked into the story at the end of one working block than when I sit down the next time. This is mostly okay, in that each new stint at the keyboard brings in some freshness and more opportunity for the ideas and characters in my head to steep in my subconscious a little more. And yet, though there are those positives, I still feel a pull to go back to what I wrote the day before to steep myself in the tale all over again. It’s difficult to do this without rewriting things at least a little bit.
I remind myself at this point that no, this is NaNoWriMo, not NaNoRewriMo, so if it comes to this, I sit on my hands while I reread from the previous day or couple of days. Of course, this makes scrolling challenging. Certainly Susanne would just roll her eyes at me if I asked her to come over to click me to the next page of text, so for this purpose only, I’ll touch the keys.
The other reason to avoid this, beyond adhering to a strict policy on the name NaNoWriMo (the search engines are going to love this post), is because of the design of the contest, certainly. With only 30 days one has to make some steady progress. Not only is there no time for rewrites, editing one’s text brings in scope creep, which is a silly project management term for meandering away from one’s original goals.
Since I took the time to outline my story and architect a chapter-by-chapter summary, it behooves me to stick to it unless I have good reason. In some more open-ended work-in-progress environment, my threshold for “good reason” is lower—I don’t like a character anymore and need to go through and create/implement a new one, a plot device clearly isn’t working and I need to strike it and consider its effect on the story, a development feels all wrong to me and needs changing, or the language in some section (many, probably) just screams foul. In the 30-day window of NaNoWriMo (crawl on this, baby!), I don’t have time for all of that gutting and recrafting, and I super don’t have time for all of the structural details to be fashioned.
Day 2 is the first day of the rest of this novel. And it will begin with a quick read-through while I sip some skinny latte. Then it’s off to the races.