25 October, 2021

The Best/Worst Writing Advice We’ve Ever Received

Turn Off Your Internal Editor

The first year that I participated in National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I spent a lot of time exploring the website and reading everything that I could find in preparation for November 1st.  I could have stopped with the site’s homepage where I discovered what I consider to be the most important advice that I’ve ever received regarding the creative writing process:

“Don’t stop to edit, just keep writing until you reach the end.”

While I am a very fast typist, I cannot say that I am an accurate one and after tapping out 2,000 words or so, found myself distracted by the fine little red and green jagged lines that appeared underneath so many of the words in my sentences.  Unable to concentrate with so much color on the page, I went back to make corrections, which turned into edits, which then turned into major revisions.  After performing a clean-up, the pages appeared free of color, however, I had lost my train of thought as well as my creative momentum.

Fortunately, I learned my lesson and during my second foray into NaNo, I followed their advice to the letter and sailed through without changing a thing until I had written the very last line.  No breadcrumbs were needed to find my way out of the forest.  Put your blinders on and keep writing.

-Lisa Emig

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