Embryos and NaNoWriMo

This week, I’m participating in a challenge with several writer friends. My goal is to finally finish the rough draft of mess-in-progress, which, incidentally, looks about as good right now as the embryo pictured here.

I know better than to worry about it. My first drafts are always incredibly clunky and they always clean up nicely by the fourth round of revisions or so.

But just because I know better doesn’t mean I don’t hate this part of the process. And I really shouldn’t. Anna DeStefano taught a workshop at the NJRW conference where she likened drafting a novel to dumpster-diving. You have to sift through a lot of garbage to find the pearls.

And it should be fun.

But I have a lot of trouble cutting loose and having fun. Maybe it’s the Catholic upbringing. Maybe it’s the lack of childhood pets! 🙂 In any case, I’d like to get over this. I’m frankly tired of the fear and self loathing. Why should I feel guilty about writing bad first draft?

An idea I’m toying with right now is taking part in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. NaNoWriMo is, accordingly to the website, “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

So if I do this, I would put the completed draft of m-i-p on the backburner and try to blast through another story that’s been niggling at me. Maybe the break from m-i-p will help me approach the rewrites with a fresh mindset. Maybe I’ll end up with a good chunk of a new story.

Is it my muse talking or the procrastination devil? My inner critic (who rather alarmingly speaks with the voice of my elementary school principal) says this is a creative way to procrastinate on the rewrites for m-i-p. She thinks I’m just going to waste time hanging out on the message boards at NaNoWriMo. But I wouldn’t do that. Would I?

My friends at Writer Unboxed are mulling similar questions. (Also, there’s a lovely essay on the Death of the Muse by the winner of their Alphasmart contest.)

Am I nuts to think about doing this? Readers, what do you think of writers churning out 50,000+ words in a month? Writers, any of you planning to take the challenge?

The good thing is apparently they will take scrambled manuscripts for the wordcount verification. So if I do this, no one has to read my drecky draft!

Elena, who prefers not to die of shame

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, RT Reviewers’ Choice, Best Regency Romance of 2005

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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