Notice the “ly” words in the title? Those wouldn’t make it past most writer’s editorial eyes. Yet several students have asked, “You keep telling us to ‘junk it through,’ yet you also give suggestions for editing. How can we do both?”
Writing Tip for Today: In a word, the answer is, don’t. Here’s why:
- Avoid short-circuiting your process. Most of us know that creativity comes mostly from “right brain” activities. “Left brain” activities favor analysis and logic. If you try to edit as you write (at least until you develop some skills) you short circuit the process. Like opposing magnets, the two often cancel each out.
- Separating creating from editing gives objective distance. If you allow what you crank out to sit a day or two (at least) you will be more likely to return to editing with a more objective attitude, so necessary for effective editing.
- Kick Rules to the Curb, Then Kill the Darlings. After your piece gestates a while, you can edit with the cold eye of editors. When you are creating, put the editor in a closet and lock it. When you’re editing, you can think about all those “rules” I’m always on about. Never try to accomplish both at once until your skill level is fairly high. This means lots of practice–get busy producing those words. You may decide to create one session and edit the next or create in the morning, edit (something else) that afternoon. Just keep junking it through (and have FUN!), and don’t try to edit yourself while you’re junking. ‘Nuff said.