Writing and editing are two different things. Writing comes first.
By The Author’s Writer, July 22, 2022
I meet a lot of people who love to write.
I meet a lot of people who do not like to write at all.
I also meet a lot of people who love the idea of writing. They start but they do not finish.
All three have one thing in common: They all want to be authors.
The people who would like to write have a great story idea, but they never write the book. They are too concerned about the end game so they never start: the structure of their book or chapters, the content, if it will be good, if people will like it, etc. They are concerned about how to write a book, how to write the chapters, how to develop characters, how to write dialogue, etc. so they take classes, read books on writing, join writer’s groups. They become informed about what everyone else is doing, but they are so bogged down with details that they do not write the book!
The people who don’t like to write may have a great story idea, but they say they can’t express it on the page. It is possible that they are busy doing other things that they love and have no time or are not inclined to write. it may be that writing is simply not their cup of tea! But they may also have been taught to hate writing during their formative school years due to red marks on their papers for spelling and grammar errors, which inhibited their confidence as a writer. They may have been taught to devise an outline before writing. How dull. How boring it is to color in the lines.
Get your ideas down on paper.
The people that love writing may also have a great story idea. These are the people that have already started writing but get stuck somewhere in the process. They begin to experience self-doubt, they may not have any kind of support system or encouragement, or they have simply run out of ideas. They may also let other things get in the way, such as being too busy to devote time to their writing, so they set it aside for a few years or more and the story collects dust. They pick up that old manuscript and blow off the dust that has been collecting and think about writing again.
Is writing your cup of tea? Why or why not?
Here is why writer’s get stuck. They don’t write. They edit.
They may have written an outline. They may start filling that outline in but run out of ideas. They start to wonder if what they are writing is any good. They worry about sounding professional or educated. They don’t write from the heart but from a thesaurus and a grammar book.
They think they are writing but they have not done any writing although they have done a lot of editing. You cannot edit before you write. You cannot edit while you write.
But that was what we were taught, for the most part, in school, which is why a lot of people hate writing.
So, if you want to write a book, forget about editing, and just start writing. Leave your worries behind. Do not think about form or format, grammar or punctuation, tense or topic. Just write.
Once you start writing, your ideas will flow. Let your ideas lead you.
Writing involves inquiry.
Write to record your thoughts and ideas on paper so you can see them, understand them, and sort them out.
Write to discover what it is you want to say.
Write to ask questions.
Write to clarify your goals and intentions.
Write to create a message for yourself.
Write for enjoyment and because you love it.
Then, once you are satisfied, you can write for others. Put down what you have written for a few days, pick it up again, and then start editing.
But edit your ideas and not your sentences. That comes much later.
Writing and editing are two completely different things.
Writing is to record, discover, ask, create, and understand and to see things new again.
Editing is about sharing what you record, discover, ask, create, and understand with others.
Writing is about understanding your message. Editing is about sharing your message.