The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#38

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Today the IWSG co-hosts are Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

Don’t forget to visit and thank them for co-hosting.

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.”
Gennifer Albin

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.

Enough said.

Time for me to wrap up that draft… and ease up on the editing-as-I-go-along!


  1. Tia Bach on February 4, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    It is funny how we each tackle this in our own way. Whenever I’m writing, and I’m a totally panther, I re-read what I wrote from the day before and then start writing. That way, if something changes, I make the change and keep writing. It gets a little more burdensome when I’m 50K in, so I’ll just read the previous chapter or two, and then write. Once it’s done, I walk away for 3-4 weeks. Then, I re-read everything and edit. Then, it’s off to beta and my editor (although I’m an editor myself, I know I need someone else on the final look). Then, I trust myself. At some point, you have to let the baby go.

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I think it has to do with personality. I won’t go back and edit – I just plow through – but I will stop and adjust a sentence or word until I’m happy with it. While that might slow me down, between doing that and a massive amount of outlining and planning means my first drafts aren’t that messy.

  3. Sheri Larsen on February 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Oh yes. I think we all are guilty of this act at some point. It really is a writing no-no, too. But it is SO HARD not to revise while we write. I now force myself to go forward without looking back. I really try hard to make finishing and typing ‘the end’ more important than dusting off what I just wrote. I’ve found letting my first draft mistakes irritate me while I write doesn’t let the novel breath on its own. I must do that before I revise.

  4. Haneen I. Adam on February 4, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I love this post. I think writers are quite diverse in their writing process, some writers even have a different approach for each book, we often find two pieces of writing advice that completely contradict each other, because the truth is nobody is wrong, you just need to find what works for you. I for one always love to start my novels either in mid action or with a dialogue, well I heard that both ways are wrong and yet many great books start in this fashion so I just went with what works for me. I agree with everything you mentioned, I prefer to edit as I go but I had to finish my first novel after four years of trying in a very messy way because that was the only way to reach the end. Good luck.

  5. Murees Dupé on February 4, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I agree with Alex. I just plow through too. When it comes to the rewriting phase I do lots of rewrites and end up with various drafts. But every writer is different and has their own way of doing things. Find what works best for you. You can do it!

  6. Shah Wharton on February 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I tend to edit as I go if I’m writing my own stuff, but plow through it for ghostwriting projects. It baffles and irritates me that I can’t do the latter for the former. It’s much more productive. But a writer writes how they must I guess, it’s like an invisible fingerprint which marks us apart. 🙂

  7. Michelle on February 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    If I let myself edit as I go (as I’m doing a bit of today), then it goes too far. Which is why NaNoWriMo has been useful to me because it’s taught me to not get so hung up on it.

  8. Southpaw HR Sinclair on February 4, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Personality and project are both key i suspect – as is experience.

  9. Anna on February 4, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I’m stuck in revision mode and will be for a while yet. Every time I go through it I find another idea the will deepen or twist my story into shape. This time I’m not in a hurry and I have no idea why. 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  10. L. Diane Wolfe on February 5, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I go back and re-read and edit as I write with my fiction. With non-fiction, I just write until I’m done.

  11. Carol Kilgore on February 5, 2015 at 12:34 am

    I’ve always tried to muscle through to the end. A couple of years ago I attended a conference where several published writers talked about the way they write. Two of them wrote in ways that described how I write in my head. So with my new project I’m not rushing to the end. The process is much smoother and I’m much less stressed. I also have way fewer notes lying on my desk. It’s wonderful. And I’m farther along than I would’ve been trying desperately to reach the end.

    I think different ways work for different writers.

  12. C. Lee McKenzie on February 5, 2015 at 1:14 am

    There’s no way to write a book. I ignore most rules. I break the ones I know and figure I’ll pay for that later. And I never write the same way twice. Maybe I’m in search of my “writing style.”

  13. Patricia Lynne on February 5, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Sometimes I edit as I go, but other times I try not to edit as I go.

  14. Heather M. Gardner on February 5, 2015 at 2:28 am

    I edit as I go.
    I can’t help it.
    Especially if I get stuck. I just go back to the start to get my rhythm back.
    There is no wrong answer, except if you stop writing.
    Keep moving forward!

  15. Georgina Morales on February 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I do as Tia, reading one or two chapters and editing before I start writing the daily quote. In the end, however, my first drafts are messy as everyone else’s. At some point I will invariably think this is the MS that I won’t be able to handle. It’s just too bad to even be worth to keep writing… Then I remind myself that I can’t re-write what it’s not written, and I plow forward. Funny how often we need to remember we just need to cross the end line first.

    Nice post.

  16. J.L. Campbell on February 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Like you, I tend to edit as I go, which makes it not so hard when it’s time to edit. Everything kinda has to be just so before I can move ahead.

  17. Margo Kelly on February 13, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Great post! We want it to be perfect, but the perfectionism can be a road block! I especially agree with this: “I’m thinking, different types of people, different approaches to writing.. and they probably produce different kinds of fiction…” You’re absolutely right. We each have to figure out our own way to accomplish our writing goals.

  18. ChemistKen on March 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    For me, I have to edit at least some while I write the first draft. If I didn’t, even I wouldn’t be able to understand what I was trying to say when I came back to it later. I am getting better about moving on, though.

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