Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

When Quantity Trumps Quality

In writing on November 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

The great thing about this NaNo business is that it’s all about word count. All. About. Word count! It’s all about quantity, not quality. I can write complete drivel and it’s all good! It matters! It counts! When I’m at a loss as to where to go next with my story I can just ramble-write and pat myself on the back for making – even surpassing! – my word goal for the day.

I’ll ask you again: Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

My day 3 NaNo revelation was this: Instead of being and staying stuck at a plot point, I can (and must!) ramble-write my way out of it. Since my main concern here is dropping as many words as possible each day, when I get stuck I can’t afford to sit around checking facebook, tweeting tweets, hunting for snacks, making another pot of coffee, writing blog posts (uh …), humming and hawing about how to write my way around, over, or under the wall I’ve hit. I just grit my teeth and write right through it! I write whatever comes to mind, no matter how loosely tied (or not even) to the plot it is. It’s a killer for me, but you know what? I’ve found that it’s entirely possible for a solid, plot-strengthening idea to emerge from the rubble.

That’s what happened last night. I was ramble-writing, oh was I ramble-writing! (Racked up a good number of words, I’ll tell you!) When, lo and behold! out of the jumble of black on white poked a couple of tiny golden threads. And to my sheer delight I found that those glittery little things were attached to a solid idea. So I grabbed hold of those threads, jumped back to the beginning of my wip, and weaved a brand-new first scene, which, I think, is a pretty darn good one! Better than the original one I had, that’s for sure! And it gives the story a way more secure foundation.

Being the chronic reviser that I am, I’ve never allowed myself to write crap on purpose (operative term being: on purpose. Crap that sneaks in and is only detected upon closer scrutiny, if ever, well, you know, … happens). But I’m starting to realize that I’ve been selling myself short all these years by being so fussy and all Little Miss Perfect about it. By not wanting to muddy my precious manuscript with blah, blah, blah. It’s only thanks to NaNo (and competitively watching all my writing buddies’ word counts soar) that I’ve allowed myself to write for the sake of getting words on paper. November 30 will come soon enough. And when it does, I’ll have a brand-new, 50,000 word, completed manuscript that needs cleaning up. And I will give my revising-self permission to have its hey-day then!

So, let me ask you one more time: Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

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  1. Okay – you have inspired me to stop checking facebook, making tea (not coffee) and hunting for snacks to avoid writing today. I still have 3 hours left before the kids and the chaos arrive and I am determined to get something down. Crap and all!

    PS – thanks for taking a little time to update your blog, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had this great dose of inspiration!

    Write on!

    • Isn’t it funny how we so often try to avoid doing the thing we love most? But once we start and get into the groove we’re like, “I want to do this forever and never stop!” What’s with that?

      You go, Noelle! Write those words!

  2. Oh, yes – I have recently discovered the joy of ramble-writing, as you put it. It’s incredible how simply giving yourself permission to write something that stinks can open the floodgates to an idea that can actually turn into something quite wonderful.

    Write on!

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