It’s already a week into it and I know more than a few people who are working their asses off trying to get their first novels written. I’m opting out yet again this year, being a bit tired after finishing that last book and wanting a bit of a break, but I’ll be on the sidelines cheering those doing the challenge on.
Given the challenge, though, I can offer a few words of advice. Sitting down and writing the first draft all at once as quickly as I can is how I generally work, with the editing waiting until after I’m completely done with the first draft.
Don’t look back. Some of it is just going to suck and you can end up doubting yourself and your abilities if you look back on what you’ve already done. If you added something you think you might need later, keep a notebook handy and just jot down notes as you’re writing to keep yourself from looking on your work in progress and being tempted to rewrite everything right there.
If you do end up looking back, don’t delete the stuff you wrote. You’d think this was obvious, but not always. If you can’t stand to look at it, just change the text colour to white and you won’t have to look at it anymore. If you absolutely must rewrite it right now, write the new version of the scene below the old one and make a note saying there are two versions. When you come back to edit later, you’ll be able to see which version worked better.
Remember that editing is a thing that can, will and must happen. The first draft is the most fun you are going to have with the story, so you might as well actually have fun with it. If you have an idea or want to try something, you might as well. You won’t know if you like it until you see it all in context. It doesn’t have to be good yet, it just has to be written. It is significantly harder to make something good if you don’t have something there to work with in the first place, so don’t stress too much about making this first draft good. Try to have fun with it.
Lastly, just take it a word at a time. You can do this. Good luck.