Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I have a very hard time writing sometimes. Not because I don’t enjoy it. I just get so caught up in editing myself that sometimes it takes me days to finish a scene. This can be very discouraging to someone with a weekly word count goal of five thousand.

I think I’ve finally managed to strike a proper balance between writing and self-editing, however. Now, instead of polishing a scene until it gleams, I do a quick run through. I check for spelling, punctuation, word repetition, and grammar. After that, I leave it alone until I’m completely finished with the chapter. Not until I have moved on to a new scene do I go back and re-edit a previous chapter.

This benefits in two ways.

1. The scene is fresh since I haven’t spent hours perusing the content until I can no longer see straight.

2. Editing before writing helps me get back into the rhythm of the story. It renews my momentum and helps me get in touch with my characters again.

What about you? How do you balance editing and writing? Is one more difficult than another?

How about some feedback!


  1. I agree on all counts. What were we talking about again? Oh, editing. Yes. I used to do the same thing. I think it becomes a survival skill as you get contracts. You realize you no longer have the luxury of lingering over every scene--you. must. write.

    I also have learned not to be afraid of the editing process. Just because I didn't get the scene perfect the first pass, doesn't mean I'll somehow forget when I go back through the manuscript. As a matter of fact, after I finish a manuscript I like to let it be for a week (or more!) before my final edit. Then I am coming back to it fresh, reading it through just like a real reader, and I read it out loud too, because you can't believe the things you will catch (flow of words is wrong, dialogue is stilted, etc)when you hear it.

  2. And Lisa is taking my place today because I'm a total loser. Well, not a TOTAL loser, but almost a total loser. I have a list of excuses if you want to hear them. NOTE: Please keep this list of excuses in mind when you read next weeks post, which was supposed to be this weeks post.

    1) My desktop crashed Saturday night. Totally unexpected. It was fine when I left.
    2) We had like 9 inches of snow last night. School was canceled. I slept later than usual and. . .forgot that I'd promised myself last night, as I lay down my weary body, that I would post the article EARLY this morning (I usually post at midnight the night before).
    3) I stayed up late last night reconstructing my Financial program for four hours because it got lost in the crash and I can't convert my Quicken file on windows to a QXF file now. Plus I have to use Quicken Essentials for Mac and I found out in the first two minutes that I hated the new Quicken for Mac.

    Now, a collective *sob* for Sandra M. Poor, poor me.

    Lisa is my hero. . .ine. . . Uh. . .

  3. LOLOL! All right, all right. I'll suspend your punishment. No wet noodles. No strapping you to your keyboard without any supper. But next time, try to come up with a better story, will ya? Like maybe your dog ate your homework. . .


  4. I'm editing a completed novel. I'm not so worried about line edits, I have great critiquers for that. But I worry about big things like which threads did I drop, how do I add more about nutrition and plants to the story-because that is an underlying theme-but still keep it smooth, how do I enhance characterization, etc, etc. Any suggestions?


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