I have always been a compulsive self-editor. When I write, I’ll type out a sentence and look at it and say to myself, “That could have come out better.” And then I’ll try to fix it, instead of writing the next sentence. When I sit down to write again and find myself uninspired, I’m guilty of rereading what I’ve already got down and nitpicking it instead of trying to move forward.
Most writing advice says not to do any of that in a first draft, and with good reason. So NaNo, for me, is an exercise in embracing the truth: that a first draft of anything will be full of flaws and mistakes and typos and clunky, inelegant prose.
NaNo is not the time to train yourself out of using adverbs. NaNo is not the time to work on sprucing up your dialogue tags. NaNo is not the time to practice expanding your vocabulary to drop more ten-dollar words into your writing.
NaNo is about getting it done, plain and simple. Let those fingers fly, and edit later. Silence your inner critic (for a month, at least) and let the flaws come pouring out onto the page. That sentence that you think is horrible now, you can change later–and chances are, it’s not as bad as you think anyway, and you might not even remember you didn’t like it when it comes time to edit.
Get the story down, and get that word count cranking. Everything else? You can fix it after New Year’s. I promise.