Hope all who celebrated had a brilliant 4th!!! Because of Hurricane Arthur, our local celebration fell on July 6. I’m fortunate in that I live next to the Maritime site, and the party comes to me. Here are a couple pics from last year (both borrowed with respect from the superlative Social Palates). Can you spot me? I’m the one in the white tee and green skirt.
ON TO THE BUSINESS OF WRITING
Don’t put off ’til tomorrow…
I engage in a practice many writers consider indefensible—I edit as I go. Not only that. I frequently go back and make changes to chapters already drafted rather than wait to edit until after the manuscript is complete. For me, editing as I go is a way for me to “dig deeper” into my characters.
Many of the edits I make while writing are based on revelations that come to me as I move through the story. While I always see and hear a scene in my head as I write, I often visualize the scene more clearly once I’ve left it—for example, when I first wake in the morning, or I’m in the shower, or when I’m writing a different but related scene. These moments often evoke emotions, or I may hear turns of phrase or see specific details and body language that I want to capture on the page while they’re still fresh in my mind. A months-old note reminding me to edit later does not allow the same visceral immediacy as editing in the moment.
I have tried a number of times to put my internal editor to bed and just write, but the resultant prose is always flat and unimaginative. Editing as I go is my process. I’ve embraced it, and it works for me. But the purpose of this post isn’t to persuade you that my process is better. It is to reassure others who edit as they go that regardless of what they’ve been told, they are not “doing it wrong.”
What you need to know about editing as you go:
1. The writing still comes first. Editing as you go is a process, not an excuse to procrastinate.
2. Editing as you go is not a mortal sin. I get weary of being shamed for the behavior, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. Simple fact: editing as you go can deepen your characters and add texture to your work.
3. Editing as you go does not take the place of editing your completed draft. It is IN ADDITION TO, NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR, editing your full manuscript.
Have you tried editing as you go?
Be honest, did you feel guilty?