“We begin to judge our work too early and think we need to achieve perfection. Inevitably writer’s block will come knocking because we can’t meet those expectations. We need to give ourselves permission to fail so we have the freedom to explore, experiment and improve.” -Lynda R Young
I’m a different writer at the end of a ghostwriting project than I was at the project’s start. I’ve immersed myself in the book’s subject matter, and gone on a creative journey, absorbing stories and learning all sorts of new and interesting things, usually about life.
I’m also a better writer by the end of projects. It would be impossible for this not to happen. As Stephen King discusses in his book On Writing (highly recommended), if you take any modicum of skill or talent and combine it with repetition over any period of time, the only possible outcome is improvement.
The same is true for most activities. Think of strength training – condition your muscles regularly and they’ll get stronger. Take a ballroom dancing class every week and, unless you have two left feet (*raises hand*), you’ll become a better dancer. Watch the Food Network and experiment with enough dishes and you’ll become a better cook.
When you write consistently, like in a book project, regular blogging, or article writing, you’ll become a better writer. Like I said – it’s inevitable.
You are a different author when you finish writing your book than when you began.
This is the best possible argument I can think of for not editing as you write. Editing as you write your rough draft is like settling for a less experienced, not-as-good editor now instead of being patient and employing a much better one later. Wait until you finish a complete rough draft of your book and now you’ll have an editor who is 50,000+ words better and more experienced than the novice with tunnel vision, trying to hack away at chapter 1 right after she finished writing it.
Other reasons to wait until you have a complete rough draft of your book before attempting any substantial edits:
1) Editing is about fine tuning, polishing, and shaping the big picture. How can you see the big picture to know what needs to be adjusted, if it’s still being painted?
2) It kills your creative momentum which is the last thing you want, especially if you’re a first time author building your confidence.
3) Editing switches you from creative to critic. A rough draft is neither the time nor place for critics.
“Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist. It’s perfect in its existence. The only way it could be imperfect would be to NOT exist.” -Jane Smiley
The biggest reason for not editing too early, is your unlimited potential as an author!
Speaking of, if you’re writing a book (or you want to) and you need accountability, support, motivation, tools, resources, or anything else, please join my private Ink Authors group on Facebook where you will receive all those things and more! If you’re looking for a high level of support, I also offer Book Coaching services.