Editing as you write

It has been a wee while since I wrote a blog, since I blogged – gosh see how quickly the rust sets in. Quickly… wee… oh dear, hands in the air, it has been over a year since I last blogged, well over a year. What kind of blogger am I? From this question flowed another: what kind of writer am I?

While pondering an answer to these questions, I contemplated tidying the study floor, moving all the trip hazards of books I had purchased since Christmas into my bookcase. But there wasn’t room in my bookcase. There could be room, if I tidied two shelves overflowing with paperwork from an MA in Creative Writing I’d been awarded in December 2014. With so many half answers and half truths stirred by my two questions ringing in my mind, I sifted through the piles of looseleaf and stapled paper, mentally double checking I had this note stored electronically, or this lecturer’s comment incorporated in any prose I had written subsequently before dropping said paperwork into my log fire’s wicker basket ready for firelighting come September. Towards the end of sorting my paperwork, I stumbled upon an answer to my questions, to one of my questions at least.

The A4 sheet was titled Editing, and was part of the Writing Techniques module. There were eight paragraphs on this sheet of paper with bold titles but the title and paragraph that grabbed me was:



But, don’t do it too soon

Avoid – at all costs – editing as you write. Never edit a piece of work until you have finished, at least, the first draft.



I was, I had become, a writer who edited as they went along. Even though I tried to write most nights in a stream of consciousness manner, for at least quarter of an hour before going to sleep, enough time for all my words to hang out without worrying about how they looked, how they felt, how my readers might feel when they read them. When I wrote fiction I had got into the habit of writing a bit, checking a bit, editing a bit, re-writing a lot. Where a bit was a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph. And a lot was, sometimes, the whole lot.

Oh dear.

What kind of writer am I?


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