If you’re anything like me, you put off beginning your novel. I pretend to plan; create lists and lists of characters, map out a setting you may or may not even use, plan your plot but not too much, and basically do everything I don’t need to before I begin. But for me, beginning isn’t even the hardest part. I’ve only ever finished two novels; one for a class and the fist novel I ever attempted.
With National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) very quickly approaching, and I still haven’t chosen an idea, I find myself planning the use of my time. Instead of choosing an idea, I’m planning my time on choosing my idea; a special kind of meta-procrastination. So when I prepare, I prepare for the worst. The worst meaning rambling plots, clunky characters, jumps in time and space, and all the things you’d think would be ironed out after the amount of planning I do.
I also expect the worst. Just because I do all this planning and preparing, no matter if I’ve been working on an idea for years (and this is a true example), when it comes to writing a first draft, I expect it to turn out like crap. My true example happened recently; I’ve had an idea churning and planned partly out and decided to go for it in my last workshopping class before graduation. I wrote a first chapter or so and turned it in and it got torn apart. Plot holes, character flaws, everything that could go wrong, did. But I didn’t leave class a distraught mess (mentally, perhaps) but more inspired to do better the second time around.
My long winded point is, when it comes to NaNo don’t expect the rushed first draft to be incredible. Sure, getting that word count out there is a wondrous feat, but don’t expect the word vomit to be of quality good enough to be shipped to a published on December 1st.
Don’t let me scare you into not planning though! Plan your heart out if that’s how you write, but just don’t expect that planning will make the first draft better.
Stay creative my friends,