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Participant Pep Talk from Lin R.


It is something that I know a lot of writers struggle with, young and old. It is that feeling that everything has to be perfect on the first try. Many times, writers will delete whole chapters as soon as they have been written because it “isn’t good enough." 

I myself have written three different versions of this pep talk already; perfectionism is not easy to overcome.

An example of this from my own life is Camp NaNoWriMo 2019. I hadn’t prepped nearly enough so three weeks in, I was totally stuck. During this time, I decided that I should reread what I had written, for inspiration; that was a bad idea. As soon as I finished reading my work, I felt so discouraged. I thought the whole thing was garbage and I was tempted to just delete it all and start over with only a week left. Don’t do that! Luckily, I didn’t, but it was really tempting. 

And with that experience, I want to share what I am doing for NaNo 2019 to prevent that from happening again.

First things first, Preptober. I know people like to skip the prepping phase and just jump in; people who claim to be "pantsers." I, myself, pantsed my first five NaNo related projects, be it official November NaNo or Camp NaNo. I would suggest, if you know yourself to be someone who struggles with perfectionism, do at least a basic prep. Dan Harmon’s plot embryo is a good method for people who are new to prepping. The plot embryo is what I used this past October to plan out my novel. 

So, what do you do if you didn’t prep and are already part-way into a project?

If you are already working on a project and haven’t prepped, first try to think of how you want your story to end. This gives you a goal to work towards, hopefully preventing you from succumbing to the dreaded writer’s block. If you do know how you want the story to end, but still are stuck, don’t read back. In fact, I wouldn’t suggest rereading your story until you have set it aside for at least a month. 

Second, when you are writing and you want to delete large sections that you’ve just written, don’t. Instead, use a colored highlighter to make known to your future self that you want to edit that section. This saves your word count while still making sure that you don’t forget that you were not satisfied with that section.

So overall, don’t reread, don’t delete large sections, and try to prep for future NaNoWriMos, even if it is just making sure you know the ending. I hope that these tips helped you in all of your future NaNoWriMo adventures. 

Stay creative, my young writers!

photo of Lin R.

Lin R. is a thirteen-year-old who enjoys writing, playing Minecraft, drawing, and playing a variety of instruments. Lin participated in his first NaNoWriMo in 2016, when he was in sixth grade, and has done the November event every year since. During the July Camp NaNoWriMo, Lin wrote the full 50,000 words for the first time. Being homeschooled, he admits that he may spend a little too much time playing video games instead of doing school work. Though he has not had anything published yet, it is Lin’s dream to have something of his published in the future.

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