I know the core idea for NaNoWriMo is to write without allowing yourself to go into editing mode. I think that is a super good thing for writers to do - if they are people who normally self-edit while writing and need some freedom from the internal editor.
But the thing is, I'm not one of those people. I let the words spill out of me as fast as I can type. I don't edit while I'm writing. I allow myself to write crap if crap is the best I can do - but only to a point....
I need a breakpoint, several breakpoints along the way, where I stop and edit what I've written so far. Ideally, I like to do this self-check after a handful of chapters. Then I can move on with confidence while getting myself back into the mindset of the story. For me, it makes for better writing.
And for me, the point of writing is to write well, not to write voluminously.
So the first thing I've learned after a week of NaNo-ing is this:
1. I need to do what works for me.
I need to write a few chapters without editing, edit them, and then write some more. I need to do this whenever I feel the need. I need to stay on the path of my novel, not by continuously writing, but by stopping every now again to check to make sure the ground is solid and I'm on course.
The second thing I learned is about failure. I've spent my life being a bit of a perfectionist and being very hard on myself (and possibly those around me - sorry about that if you are one of them). Any kind of failure, even a perceived failure or the threat of failure, usually makes me feel very uncomfortable. I avoid it at any costs.
A fact I know is true: I will fail at finishing my NaNo novel before the end of November.
But, honestly, what I've accomplished so far this month on my novel feels like complete success. It feels fantastic. And it's only been a week. I'm elated not just because I love what I've written, but I'm finally free of my fear of failure (for today at least).
2. Success is carrying on with the knowledge I can't finish on time.
I am back in writing mode and am suddenly now able to write on a much more flexible schedule than normal - morning, afternoon, evening, late night - whatever time I have. That is huge.
For those of you power-writing this month, I hope it's going as well for you. And I hope you are feeling a sense of success no matter how far along you are.