Don't Edit While You Write | Discussing "Bad Writing Advice" Part 2

by - September 13, 2019


Hey there, friend! Welcome back to part 2 of "Discussing 'Bad Writing Advice.'"

Last week, we discussed whether or not we should write every day, and you can find that post here.

In today's post, we're going to examine the writing advice "Don't Edit While You Write."

I have heard this advice MANY times. Usually, I would agree with it. But, as you'll soon see, there are different ways of approaching this advice.*

Is this good advice? Bad advice? Let's find out!

*I watched another video by Nadine Brandes on YouTube, which discusses her thoughts on this topic.

WHY THIS IS GOOD WRITING ADVICE

How many of you edit while you write? I had a guest poster who wrote about this very topic a few months ago.

So how many of you do it? You know who you are. ;) Every sentence is neatly constructed before you go to the next one. (Okay, maybe not that extreme...)

Anyways, a lot of writers go back through their writing, letting perfectionism take control as they pour themselves over the last few pages and edit them.

"NO NO NO!" other writers argue. "You'll NEVER get through a first draft if you continue to go back through and edit. NEVER EDIT WHILE YOU WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT!"

In a way, I agree with these writers. Editing while writing the first draft certainly slows us down.

But it could also speed things up in the long run, so here's why this is bad advice.

WHY THIS IS BAD WRITING ADVICE

Nadine Brandes argues that if she has a bad beginning, how can she write a strong ending?

I have to agree with her here. My second novel had a bad beginning and middle, and the ending was bad. Maybe if I had edited it first, instead of waiting until I was finished with the draft to edit, it would have turned out nicer and would not be needing a rewrite.

Some writers just have to stop in the middle of the rough draft and go back to the beginning and edit. They just thought of something that they really want to happen in the beginning, and that will change the whole story. So if they don't edit now, the rest of the book is going to be badly messed up.

IS THIS GOOD OR BAD WRITING ADVICE?

So is this good or bad writing advice?

Honestly, it depends on how you take it.

This is good writing advice if it keeps you from editing things that can wait. This is bad writing advice if it keeps you from editing things that NEED to be edited NOW for the sake of the rest of the story.

WHAT'S THE MAIN POINT BEHIND "DON'T EDIT WHILE YOU WRITE"?

The main point behind this advice is this: Don't edit while writing the first draft unless it will benefit the rest of the story, such as a major story or plot change that will affect the rest of the book. If you're just editing for the sake of getting your sentences or grammar correct, you're wasting your time by spending your "rough draft time" on editing the little things. That will come later in the micro editing stage.

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what about you?

Do you edit while you write? Which way have you usually thought of this advice? Which way do you think about it now?

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4 comments

  1. Great points!! I don’t make every sentence perfect...sometimes I don’t even fix typos until I edit. *cringe* *that sounds really bad written out* But if a scene needs rewritten badly enough, it’ll slow down my story until I stop and redo it. So...I guess yes and no? Mostly no, but it’s not because I never would, if that makes sense.

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    1. Hi, Kassie! Haha, that's not too bad. I'm a grammar nerd, so I cannot live with obvious typos, unless my brain is going, going, going, and I can't stop. But as soon as that sprint is done, I'm editing typos. But whatever works for you! XD
      Haha, yes, that makes sense! ;)

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  2. I really liked this post, Julia! You shared some great tips! :)

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    1. Hi, Bella! Thank you! Glad you found it helpful! :D

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