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Turn off the “Inner Editor”

Many writers find it challenging to turn off the “inner editor” while writing. What is the inner editor? Well the inner editor is what slows you down. This can be a need for perfectionism which makes you doubt every word you write or a need for a typo-free, plot-hole free first draft. Essentially, the “inner editor” is the need to edit while writing. Because no one writes a perfect first draft, your self-editing mechanism kicks in when you review what you’ve written.


But really–who wants a perfect first draft? Okay, I might be the first in line for that. But if you consider, sometimes it’s the rabbit trails of a first draft that deliver some of the most promising plots or subplots for a writer to develop in the second draft.

Outlining is great and all, but sometimes the greatest epiphanies occur while in the act of writing. No matter how much I outline, my first draft always deviates from it and surprises me. There is always some new idea I get while writing the first draft that never occurred to me while outlining. Writing is the more creative act, outlining analytical, so it makes sense that creativity flows while writing and not outlining.

While there is a focus throughout October and earlier on coming into November’s event as prepared as you can be through outlining and research, once November dawns, it’s all about numbers. A lot of writers may not like this approach, and I can easily see why. Who wants to be purposeful about writing crap?

But it’s because NaNo promotes “quantity over quality,” that it is such a great opportunity to learn to turn off that inner editor and indulge your fancies. NaNo gives you full permission to write that crappy first draft you’d otherwise be ashamed of–and get full marks for it. As long as you write those 50K words, you win.

So this November, indulge your character’s desires for rabbit trails and sheep paths and meanderings through the woods. There’s no better time than now!

Reason #1 You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo

Reason #2 You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo