Fool’s errand

Time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post!

Today, I’ve been thinking a lot about foolishness as it relates to writing. In addition to being April Fool’s Day, today marks the first day of the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo. A little less structured than NaNoWriMo’s November month-long novel-writing event, Camp NaNo still encourages writers to challenge themselves in ways they might not normally, in ways that some might even term foolish.

For many years, I didn’t write first drafts. This isn’t to say that I never revised my work, but I revised as I wrote, making sure each paragraph was perfect before moving on to the next. It was a grueling process, and I can’t even count how many abandoned projects it produced. I can tell you how many completed novels it resulted in, though: none. In fact, I don’t think I finished anything longer than about 5,000 words that way.

There are authors who work well revising as they go. I, it turns out, am not one of them, even though that’s the way I instinctively want to write. To be productive as a writer, and to consistently enjoy writing, I need to let go of my perfectionism and allow myself to write flawed and utterly foolish first drafts. Sometimes, when I really start struggling with my perfectionism and inner editor during a first draft, I even type with my eyes closed. Is it silly? No question. Does it work? Every time.

What sorts of foolishness have you incorporated into your writing routine?

3 thoughts on “Fool’s errand

  1. This made me smile – I may have to try typing with my eyes shut to get over my own procrastination tendencies! I absolutely detest editing, I want my work to be perfect every time – which invariably it isn’t.

    Possibly the most foolish thing I do is read the final draft of short stories or chapters out loud, to the dog. My audience of one! She never looks that impressed, but it helps me enormously!

      1. ah yes, the ‘help mother’ routine. The dog has that off pat. In that she slurks into the study and rests her chin on any available part of me demanding a pat. I’m easily distracted!

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