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I think I wrote about this already, but I feel like I need to remind you of one simple point of wisdom. Although your intuition might protest against it (if you are a perfectionist like me), this wisdom will greatly save you time and effort, and prevent you from being trapped in writer’s block, and increase your overall efficiency. This wisdom is “Write now, edit later.”
While browsing the Internet, I often run into writing advice like, “Create the first draft, then the second draft, then the semi-final draft, then the final draft, then rewrite it all over again and voila, you’ve finished writing your book!” What I don’t understand is why this is considered to be effective advice. It’s like writing from the end.
Don’t edit what you write until you write the final sentence of the final chapter. Even if you notice a typo, a mistake, or find better words instead of those you’ve already used, or find any other way to improve the text, do not interrupt the writing process. I know it may hurt your feelings, it may seem inaccurate, irresponsible, messy, or negative in some other way, but your first and foremost task is to write a book.
You need a piece of marble to carve a statue from. When you write, it’s mining, digging the marble rock out of soil; when you edit, it’s carving. Imagine a sculptor trying to carve a statue out of a rock he or she is currently digging out of soil. It is impossible to do two things simultaneously!
Trust me, little innocent thoughts like “I’ll just correct that typo,” or “I’ll just rewrite this sentence—it’s too crude” will immediately drag you into the depths of editing. You will get distracted from what you were writing about, you will find tons of discrepancies in what you’ve written before and return to it in order to fix them, and you will be crushed by the scale of imperfection of your writing.
“Write now, edit later” is the golden rule that saves you from all this. Your writing is imperfect and you know it. But by using this method, you:
- will finish your book/essay/thesis much faster
- you will remain more focused throughout the whole process of writing
- you will maintain your motivation more easily, because you will see how quickly your writing moves forward
- your writing will get better anyways, as you’re going to edit it later, in one piece
This doesn’t mean you can now write whatever you like—you should still do your best and try hard. This method will only ensure your efforts aren’t wasted.
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