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QUOTE: “How many times as a writer have you gotten so caught up in the next step of the writing process that you lose sight of the real finish-line: getting to the end? Are you suffering from a case of go-back-and-fix-it, or worse, page-perfectionitis? Stop worrying about editing or finding the perfect word, and just get to the end.”
Ouch! That was directed at me! I cannot just write on and on without stopping to rewrite a clumsy sentence, or replace a word with a better one.
Some say that editing and polishing as you go hinders creativity. I don’t know. I think that editing presents you with the opportunity to notice new connections between events and images in the story, that may strengthen the theme, or the plot, as you go along. Maybe you’ll miss that if you just charged ahead?
But what if you spend a substantial amount of time editing, only to realize that you have to change a major sub-plot, or an entire character? On the flip side, what if you spend all the time writing, only to realize that you have to change a major sub-plot, or an entire character? Oops…
But I suppose editing as you go along isn’t a bad approach – editing to get it ‘perfect’ while still trying to get through the first draft, is bad.
I’m thinking, different types of people, different approaches to writing.. and they probably produce different kinds of fiction…
Maybe it has more to do with personality than with personal choice? Some people can charge through their stories without ever looking back, then go back to the beginning and rewrite from scratch. Not me. I fall into the edit-as-you-go-along category. But I think that’s because I write a lot of flash fiction. This means I’m accustomed to a writing pattern which includes, writing in short bursts and then editing. I’d be interested to hear if other writers of flash fiction can identify with this writing style.
If you’re writing your first novel, the advice is not to look back until you’ve reached the end. They say that the difference between a dream and a goal is a completed first draft.
Time for me to wrap up that draft… and ease up on the editing-as-I-go-along!