Why We Shouldn’t Edit As We Go

Today I want to talk about the benefits of plugging away until you get to the end.

When embarking on a piece of writing – especially a long piece that’s going to require a lot of time and stamina, I’m a firm believer in the power of getting your first draft written as quickly as you can. I still outline and plan – but once I’m ready to start writing, I like to get the whole thing written without much editing.

7 Reasons NOT to edit as you go!

When we edit as we go, we tend to stop the natural flow of our writing. The perfectionist within us jumps out, eager to make the work perfect, almost before the words have hit the page.  

But when there’s so much more work to come, there’s really no point in spending hours, days, weeks or even months editing every tiny detail, because we might find that we need to make huge changes to the plot, once we eventually finish it.

You can’t make something perfect if it’s not even complete.

You might think it’s quicker to edit as you go, but I believe we’re more likely to make very slow progress when we edit as we go. This means, there’s a risk we’ll either lost interest or run out of momentum before reaching the end. And to me, that’s such a waste.

Another big reason we might persistently edit is procrastination. It’s much easier to fiddle around at the edges, than put in the deep work required to figure out the next big chunk of plot.

Also, we might be harbouring some fear about finishing it. Once it’s complete we’ll actually have to show someone our work, and they might tell us it’s rubbish!!

Also, if no-one is holding us accountable, it’s easy to forget about tracking our progress, and just drift along, mindlessly tweaking minor details.  

In my experience, unfinished work tends to hang over me in a slightly haunting way, and that can be unsettling too.

On the other hand, when you switch off that desire to edit as you go, there are some great benefits to ploughing on to the end.

2 AMAZING benefits to plugging away until the end

Firstly, you get a huge sense of achievement from finishing something. You feel like a superhero! And that gives you the energy you need to push you forward to the next stage in the process. Writing can be an endurance test, so it’s important to find ways to keep up our stamina.

Once you’ve got to the end, you have something to work with. You can read it from beginning to end and see if it works as a whole. It’s also a lot easier to get feedback on a complete piece of work, rather than just a portion of the story.

Our ultimate goal is to finish our work and share it, so in my opinion, the best way to do this, is to forget about editing as you go, and instead just keep writing until you reach ‘The End’!

How are you getting on with your own pieces of writing? Is there a story you haven’t got round to finishing? Something you never forgot about? Maybe you’re stuck in the middle, or perhaps you just can’t seem to get on with it. If so, are you ready to work with a coach — such as me?!

How I can help you

As a coach, I can help you set a clear goal, come up with a plan and hold you accountable week by week.

We can talk over your story and bounce around ideas, if that’s something that would be helpful.

Or, if you’re simply feeling stuck we can work on too.

Sometimes, we just can’t do it alone.

In my coaching, I help writers with both the practical issues holding them back, as well as the emotional ones. Everyone is different, so I tailor the coaching to your unique situation.  

It helps to have someone on our back, giving us deadlines, talking things over, providing inspiration, motivation, and gently pushing us forward.

If you’re intrigued by the sound of coaching, but want to know more, drop me a line and we can set up a brief complimentary call. I can answer any questions you may have, and we can discuss where you are with your writing and see if my coaching might be a good fit.

Find out more

You can also find out more about my three coaching programmes on my website. The programmes vary in length from 1-month, 3-months, and 6-months.

I can also create something different, to fit into your lifestyle and needs, if none of these programmes suits your situation.

Quick heads up, due to my own writing commitments, I’m only able to work with a limited number of clients. So don’t hang about in case I get booked up.

If you’re passionate about writing but feeling a little bit stuck, now is the time to get in touch. I’d love to work with you.

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