Try NOT to Edit

Whooo boy this is a tough one that even I have trouble with. Try not to edit what you’re writing while you are writing it. Keep this in mind especially with longer pieces.

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Creating and editing are two different processes and doing them simultaneously can cause enormous issues in your writing like:

  • plot holes
  • misspellings
  • poor continuity
  • the melding of 2 separate story lines (I’ve done this)
  • Differences in characters’ personalities
  • spontaneous changes in setting (I’ve done this, too)

When I return to pieces which were edited while I wrote them, I find my characters are simultaneously in offices and bathrooms or they are madly in love with characters who are not actually part of the same story.

Just remember: Write first and then let your inner editor tear it to shreds. The problem is that you have been trained to do otherwise. If you see you have misspelled a word or left one out, you are supposed to fix it. But then you scour the piece for additional mistakes and realize you hate things about your piece on micro and macrocosmic scales.

I say this: leave it alone. Finish your scene, leave the red and green underlined sections until the scene or chapter that you have planned to write at that sitting is over. Then go back.

If it’s not finished–don’t edit it.

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3 thoughts on “Try NOT to Edit

  1. I’m afraid I’m one of those who edits along the way, although that happens more heavily during my read throughs (unless a scene isn’t working). That said, I often find grammatical errors in the places I edited, where I might have changed half a sentence but not the other half.
    I’ve had characters wearing boots in one sentence and open sandals in another, but I haven’t had one in the bathroom when they should be in the office. 🙂
    Definitely consistency has to be checked. The one I have to watch out for the most is changing a character’s eye color. 😀

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