by Deborah A. Bailey
Is writing hard at times? Yes! But I find that when I write and edit at the same time, it’s just about impossible.
Creating and editing can’t happen at the same time. While you’re getting the words down, you’re also critiquing the words – it’s like trying to drive with one foot on the gas and the other on the break.
For me the first draft is easier. I can write and let it flow.
After a lot of stressing, I finally realized what works for me. Write it first and leave it alone – no tinkering! There will be plenty of time for that later.
So, here’s my advice for writing without editing. It works for non-fiction writing too.
Step 1 – Write
It’s hard to be creative if you’re editing at the same time. When you begin your writing project don’t think about word choices or punctuation. Just write. Don’t read your work. Just write. It will be difficult at first because you will be tempted to make changes. Resist the temptation! Just write. You’ll find that thoughts and ideas start flowing once you stop editing.
Step 2 – Edit
Read through your work, then mark the parts you want to change or revise. Focus in on the paragraphs, sentences and words that need revision. Get more specific with each round of edits. Read the piece again, then focus in on specific passages, sentences and paragraphs that you want to shape up. When you’re finished, read the entire piece again.
Step 3 – Listen
Satisfied with your changes? Read your work out loud so that you’ll be more likely to catch missing words, incorrect tenses or repetitive phrases. It will also allow you to catch places where perhaps a word can be changed to a more appropriate one, or a sentence can be reworked so that it flows better. Make additional revisions and read it again.
If time permits, put your work away for another day or two. Give yourself some distance from the work, so when you read it again you’ll be less likely to be filling in words or meanings that aren’t there. You’ll be able to see it as though you were reading it for the first time. If possible have someone else read it and give you feedback.