Have you ever wondered how some writers can publish books every few months? I never gave it much thought as a reader. I was just happy my favorite book series was up and ready for me to purchase or borrow. I dive into the book, and I’m also elated to find that the author has tons more books in other series. So, imagine my surprise when I started writing my own book and couldn’t seem to type a paragraph without going back and re-editing and thinking that this was almost as bad as college writing term papers!
I couldn’t figure out the secret to knocking out pages in one sitting or how to just let my ideas flow and not have to come back to it and re-check everything to make sure it made sense or sounded good. If you’re secretly a perfectionist like me, you know how hard it is to move forward without constantly re-analyzing your previous tracks. I get obsessed with the details and lose focus on the mission.
I decided to research how editing kills creativity, and I realized editing was killing my creativity! If editing wasn’t a factor, I could write pages for days and become a one-woman book factory. I remember when I was younger, I would write storybooks and be at it all day just as happy and naïve but inspired and glowing with the stories that appeared in my loosely folded construction paper. I would even write series, draw pictures, and everything. When I was done, I didn’t think about if the commas were right or if a phrase was used in the wrong tense, or if the tone was relevant or not.
I decided to do my research on editing, and I found three main ways to edit. You can edit before you finish writing your work, after you finish writing, or combine both methods. The first method is extremely safe for someone like me, but it takes a lot of time. I would probably only complete one book a year this way. The second method, I’m not even going to lie, is very scary to me. Not being able to edit while I write would worry me being that I’m trying to be a best seller and all. I might even be able to crank out a couple of books a year, reminding myself that I am doing this writing thing, and my inner child will be very happy.
The third method seems to be the best of both worlds. I can write and just go crazy, but after about 20 pages of sweat beads and anxiety, I could go back and make sure I didn’t write myself off a cliff! So, what do you say? What method do you use to edit? Please, let me know what you think!