To Edit or Not to Edit, That is the Question

Of course you edit! What kind of ridiculous question is that?

I don’t mean ever, naturally. I mean as you write. I’ve heard this topic discussed a lot, and my friend Joy (joykeeney.wordpress.com) just blogged her way through her thoughts on the topic. What’s a writer to make of it all?

Here’s my two cents (and that’s about what it’s worth).

Most writers tell you not to edit as you go. They tell you to get the words on the page and revise later. They don’t want to break the creative process with the mundane chore of grammar, punctuation and the like. There is merit to that school of thought.

Some people, the edit-happy writers of the bunch, advocate editing as they write because it saves time later. Does it break creative flow? Possibly. Do you run the risk of losing the idea of the century? Yes, you do. So why risk it? Because if, in the course of editing, you discover a plot point error in chapter 2, it will save you weeks if not months of editing later.

Where do I fall? I tend to fix the little things I notice as I go, but mostly plow forward. Then I spend the beginning of each day reviewing the prior day’s work to fix the big things. It seems to be a happy medium, and it works for me. I’d recommend this technique to anyone.

Why do I think this post is only worth two cents? Because, while I think it’s great advice, writers seem to be creatures of habit and I don’t believe anything written here will change their ways on the matter. But writers are also dreamers, and I’m ever hopeful!

Keep writing, everybody. And editing!

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