One thing that I have learned over the years is that it can be pretty dang hard, if not impossible, to edit something that’s not yet actually written.
Yeah, brilliant, I know, but for many years I wrote, trying to edit at the same time. And while typically driving me to drink, that process really…slowed…down…my…writing. I’ve heard the old idea over and over, “Just get the words written. Get that first draft down, and worry about editing later”.
Well, you know what? That’s true. True as can be. Start writing the words, even if you have to make up some new ones to finish the article, feature, chapter, or book. Because you can’t edit what isn’t finished.
I’m not saying it’s easy. No sirree! I’ve fought the urge to go back and rewrite some things in this little passage already. I have to constantly tell myself that I can do it later, after everything is written. It’s a mindset that I have to continually focus on. The first draft is just that, a first draft. Don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect a polished piece of prose that rolls off the tongue. Do expect to edit and polish later, at a more appropriate time.
More importantly, in a novel scenario, I know that no matter how many times I edit that first chapter, and no matter how perfect it is, it means nothing without all of those subsequent chapters. So I better get those down so I can edit those, don’t you think?
Let’s get after it!