When to Edit

When to Edit

You sit at your computer, reliving a memory from long ago. Vivid details of this moment fill your mind. Your fingers fly across the keyboard. You enjoy giving life to this experience. Then you hit a couple of wrong keys, and you have typos. You look back over the last sentence, and you don’t like how it sounds.

Here is your moment of truth. If you stop to make those corrections and edit that sentence, you break the creative cycle and risk stopping the flow completely. But those typos torment you; they taunt and laugh at you. What do you do?

It is best to keep on going, typos and all, until you capture the moment in its entirety. Then edit and make the text read just as you’d like. If Don't Look Imagethe compulsion to correct is so great it drives you crazy, cover your screen with a towel, and wait until you finish with the memory before revealing the text.

Drafting a story and editing are totally different processes, requiring different skills that interfere with the other. Write a couple of paragraphs blind by covering your screen. Then write like crazy. No peeking until you reach the end.

Go to the Writing Your Life forum and tell us about your experience. Did you do the exercise? What was it like for you? Did it free you up in some way or make you nuts?

If you found this tip helpful, consider participating in the next session of the Edit Like an Expert program, which begins on November 2nd.

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