The rules of writing include all those "do-nots." Don't overwrite. Don't overtell. Avoid purple prose. Stop describing things that don't matter. Get to the meat. YES. This is all important. But this is not how creativity works! Here is the line that hit me hardest:
"It's hard to go back and add details. You lose the voice of the story."
And that's the key. The rules of writing are really the rules of editing! And you cannot edit what you have not written!
I've mentioned before that I've been known to decorate cakes. Here is one of the cardinal rules of cake decorating, the rule that ensures your buttercream is satin smooth with no lumps and cracks and inconsistencies, no unsightly cake crumbs marring its surface:
Start with way too much icing.
After the first application of icing, only remove, never add. Never. Add. More. Icing. Only remove the excess until you're left with perfection. And if you don't add enough excess in the first place, you're screwed. So you have to really pile it on thick. Lots and lots of icing has to go on that cake, icing that you know full well is just going to come right back off. But it has to be there! It serves a purpose!
And it works.
And that's how writing works, too.
And that's why NaNoWriMo works.
These 30 days are your first application of icing. The dumping. The huge scoop, scraping the entire bowl of icing onto the top of your cake, leaving nothing behind, never worrying that it's too much. Dump it all. Write everything. Write the nonsense. Write the garbage. Write all the possibilities, every ounce of plot, story, character development, overanalyzation. Put it all down. Because you cannot go back and add substance later, not really, not consistently. You'll end up with cake crumbs marring the surface of your cake. You'll end up losing the voice of the story. All you should be doing in draft two is removing.
Or, as Stephen King put it in his book On Writing: "2nd draft = 1st draft - 10%."
Only removing. Never adding.
But before you can remove? Before you can edit and whittle and shape and carve and smooth it down to perfection? You have to DUMP. Empty out the bowl on top of your cake and leave nothing behind.
I need to go write now.