Camp NaNo Prep: Day 3

IX. Don’t Be Afraid to Mess Up

The simple fact of the matter is that you will make mistakes. Let them be. If this is a new genre, or if you’ve never written all or part of a novel before, then this is undoubtedly new territory for you. Don’t let that discourage you. Like I said in a previous point, your mistakes are your best learning tools.

If you’re playing with the cliches of a genre, you will learn the pitfalls and issues that come along with them easily. In fact, I strongly encourage using cliches as much as you can in your early works. Not only will you get them out of your system, you’ll also be able to learn the genre better because everything you’re writing is already familiar to you.


This is NaNoWriMo 101. You will want to go back and edit your work, but do everything you can to prevent yourself from doing this. You may pick up on things that you want to change, which could make you want to change the rest of your story to fit the adjustment. This could upset your word count if you end up having to remove large sections (or increase it, if you add to the story) but more importantly it will distract you from moving forward.

The editing process is for after NaNoWriMo. When you have the story done and you’re able to look at it all as one whole thing, then you’ll be able to go back and make changes.

XI. Disable Your Backspace Key

Okay, I don’t mean this one literally. And by all means, if you make a mistake that you notice while you’re writing, you should go back and fix it. However, if you don’t like the sentence you just wrote, leave it. If you still don’t like it during the editing process, then you can take it out or change it. Remember that your goal is to write 50,000 words. Don’t take away from that.

XII. Keep a Reference Book Nearby

This idea comes from Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! Sometimes you’ll come across a section where you have an idea what you want to write, but you’re not exactly sure how to say it correctly. Pick a book off your bookshelf that’s similar to what you want to write. Or your favorite book, if you like. Skim through for something that looks like what you want to do, and use that.

This won’t always help, but when I can’t find how to write what I want to say, I just find a different way to say it.

Stay tuned for more. Tomorrow’s blog should be a bit more fun.

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