Friday, November 12, 2010

The Impossible Task of Silencing my Inner Editor

Is it possible to silence your inner editor?  As a write, edit, and revise one chapter before you start another type of author, I never saw the value in doing that.  It means that my first draft is near-final quality when I type “The End.”   It also makes the task of beta reading much easier on my critique partners.
Enter NaNoWrite 2010 and my entire writing style is called into question—and for good reason!  I crank out my required 1666 words per day, give myself a pat on the back, and log my progress.  Then I go back and edit, takes out entire strings of dialogue, and move scenes around.  The end result is usually a few hundred words less than what I logged in.  Now I am charged with making that word count up the following day.  
My local group of NaNoers keep telling me to STOP EDITING!  A friend of mine suggested I have run two versions of the same ms – "one for NaNo and one for me to screw around with.”  That seems like a lot of cutting and pasting to me.  LOL!
As of last night I am fully caught up and have a little over 19,000 of polished, near final-draft quality words. Unless you guys have any sage advise on how to silence my inner editor, I figure I just need to up my world count to 2500 a day to accommodate my compulsion.


  1. LOL! You and I are so much alike, pantsers, crazy editors. As far as I know, there is no mute button (trust me I've tried to push it). NaNoWriMo is good motivation, but there is NO WAY I'm going to catch up now. Ah well....maybe next year.

  2. As a new NaNo-er, I don't understand why you have to change your word count-- you did write them (in November), even if you aren't keeping them in your finished version

    I understand the need to go back and change and edit. I was doing that on a draft before NaNo, and found it moved so much better.

    I am certain, either way you decide to go, you will do what is best for you and your MS.

  3. I always self-edit as I go. That's just how I do it. It does make it a much cleaner draft and makes editing/revising much easier as well. But I can see how that would complicate things for NaNo. Hmmm... Good luck!

  4. Just because you deleted the words doesn't mean you didn't write them. Leave them. They count! And I've come to the realization that I can't silence my editor either, so I do what you do. I crank out enough to meet goal and then do a little editing. If it's good for your sanity, it's good for you, rules aside.

  5. I wouldn't bother trying to silence your inner editor. It plays an integral role in how you write -- how you naturally write -- and I think that's really important. After all, if you try to write in a way that isn't natural for you, you'll never even come close to your goal. That would be like me trying to write with music blaring in my ears. I can only have one set of voices in my head at a time or I'll spontaneously combust. So, I say edit away and if you lose a couple hundred don't worry. Better that than to mess up a rhythm that works!

  6. Actually, I like your process a lot! It makes so much sense. Write the 1667 words required in order to finish on time, then edit that portion the same day. Brilliant! Your novel will be in way better shape at the end of Nov. than most of ours! I'm definitely going to try that way with my next novel and see how it goes. Thanks for the tip!

  7. I self edit and find myself in the same situation. I have tried the whole keeping of two manuscripts before too. It was kind of a different story because I was already finished with it and could toy around with one to see what I wanted to change and still had the original.

    I would still just be editing as I go. That is the process that I would stick with because it will make your manuscript better in the end. I am about quality and not quantity so NaNo is hard for me so I didn't do it this year.