NaNoWriMo places an emphasis on writing. Just writing. No editing. As someone that usually edits as they write, this was a challenge to get into the right spirit. I'm the kind of writer that pauses when I have trouble thinking of the exact word I want, or reads back to make sure I'm staying in the right verb tense and point of view. To really succeed at NaNo, I had to throw those habits out the window and write, write, write!
I eventually did pretty good at it, but during the first week I tried two interesting tricks to help silence that inner editor. The first thing I did was turned off automatic spell check. My eye is naturally drawn to misspelled words, usually, and my OCD insists that they are corrected immediately. Getting rid of those red squiggly lines really helped me ignore some of those mistakes and typos and simply continue typing away.
The second thing I did was turned my font white. I literally could not see what I had written. I could still check my word count, so it was ok, but to check what had been already written, I had to manually change the font back to black so I could read it. It was an interesting day to say the least.
The most extreme thing I saw suggested was one that I did not try. I couldn't make myself even contemplate it. Someone said to disable your backspace key. Apparently you can change keyboard settings and make certain keys no longer work. (If you already knew this, stop laughing. I know I'm more than a bit tech illiterate.) I just couldn't do it. I could not bear the thought of not having my backspace. So maybe I'll try that next year, if I'm brave.
I really enjoyed letting go during NaNoWriMo and just writing. Not worrying about if my story made sense or if I was staying in the right point of view was very freeing. I feel like it let my imagination run wild, which in this stage of writing is a very good thing. It was permission to write badly and explore ideas that I might not have otherwise explored. Some things turned out well, others didn't. The important thing is that I know more about them for having tried, and for that I needed to just write. Editing can always come later.
Want to read more about my 2014 NaNoWriMo project?
NaNoWriMo Editing Plans
Did I Write Feminist Literature?
NaNo Is Over. Now What?