Last week I went to an event sponsored by my local library that hosted an author panel of four debut authors. The writers had all penned either young adult fiction or middle grade fiction, so the event, while aimed at gathering an all ages crowd, was geared toward the younger writer.
While some of the advice given during the event was information that I already knew, like in order to submit to one of the “Big 6″ NYC publishing houses an author needs a literary agent first, and to get an agent, hopeful authors must query agents to see if they’re interested in reading your work and representing you. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself or find a couple things to take away from the event.
During the discussion panel the authors allowed a period of time for the audience to ask questions about their books, their writing and the publishing process. Lots of hands went up and the most common thing that was repeated was a variation on the two questions: “What if I write crap?” and “What if I screw up the plot, my lead character, (fill in the blank)?”
Their overwhelming answer has stuck with me and has helped me to power through my first week of NaNoWriMo: “You can always fix it later, but you can’t edit a blank page.”
When I heard that, I had a literal a-ha moment as a writer. It helped me realize that’s what I want and need to get out of NaNoWriMo. I entered this challenge to not only write a book in 30 days, but to let go of any remaining fear I have in my writing, because fear in anything holds each one of us back.
Having the deadline and word count goals associated with NaNoWriMo and taking that grain of wisdom from the author panel that I can always edit anything, no matter how bad the writing, has helped me to let go of my inner editor and fearlessly write. And it is my hope that all these factors combined will help me to grow as a writer.