The NANO Diaries 2022 – Day 4

I wasn’t anticipating getting any work done today, but I managed to scrape out 1019 words! Miracle of miracle! They were interrupted words, and not done in the most creatively conducive environments, but words are words, at least for NANO.

That’s the one issue I find myself running up against with NANO each time I attempt it: it really hangs on the idea of words-for-words sake, quantity over quality. While I support this and found it quite useful early on in my writing career, I’m starting to find that I can easily manufacture a lot more words than a scene actually needs in order to hit (arbitrary) word count requirements. I much prefer in my non-NANO time, to track time spent on a work. Sometimes you need to just sit with a work. Sometimes more words don’t mean you’re moving in the right direction.

But NANO is a time for words, so words I write! If you’re interested in books to help you learn how to prune your (possibly bloated, as mine will be) work whether from NANO or just ordinarily, I highly recommend The 10% Solution by Ken Rand and Refuse to be Done by Matt Bell (this one is my new personal editing favorite). Brilliant insights in both. Bell’s book largely encapuslates Rand’s in his Word Weasel sections, but if you need to ease into cutting back words, I’d consider starting with Rand’s book as a great intro, and when you’re comfortable with that, dive deep into Bell’s to find all the amazing things you don’t need to keep. While Rand’s book helped me level up my prose and start selling fiction professionally, I feel like Bell’s book helped me to understand what being a writer really means.

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