Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why I Love My Internal Editor

I know everyone has a different writing method that works best for them. I often hear people recommend turning off the internal editor and getting out the words as fast as you can. First drafts are supposed to be terrible. That's what revising is for, right? Well, that sounds good, but it doesn't work for me. At all. That's one reason I won't participate in Nanowrimo. I just don't see the point in spewing out a bunch of bad writing. It feels like a waste of time to me. Isn't it better to get right the first time? Close to right, anyway? I still have to do revising, of course.

I've noticed while typing up my novella that the pages I wrote faster than normal in October are, well, in need of more editing than usual. That annoys me. It's not terrible, but it's not quite as good as usual. So, I'm keeping my internal editor turned on. I edit as I go, and I like that! (I am an editor too after all.) Sure I write slower than some. First drafts don't come pouring out of me in a flood. But I bet if we all added up the time it takes to get to a polished manuscript, it probably comes out the same.

The internal critic, though? That's another matter entirely!

28 comments:

Abby Annis said...

I'm like you. It's so hard to write without editing and when I do, I'm always annoyed at the extra work I have to do to fix it. Great post! :)

Stephanie Black said...

Writing styles are so individual--what works for one writer would drive another writer crazy! Personally, I love being able to write first drafts that are far from perfect. I also love revising--going back through that manuscript again and again until it's polished and ready. But I'm still not a fast writer--I can't relate to the "flood of words" some writers experience!

tiffany said...

im like you too in away im not a writer but if i were i would write the way you do so i dont have to do somuch revising later

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I'm the total opposite. I love revising and hate rough drafting, so I spit that rough draft out as quickly as I can. Or else I coudl spend a month just revising chapter one. Once it's done, I'm in heaven.

Thanks for stopping by the blog party!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Everyone writes differently and should write to their strengths.

Ann Stewart said...

Angie. I write in a diffrent way every time. Sometimes I have a 40 page outline, sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants. Guess is depends on how the story is talking to me!!

Just stopped over from the blog party. What a great idea!
Ann

MT said...

Yay for internal editor love! I usually hear people complaining about it. And I'm impressed that you know "how" you write and don't try to fit into the NaNo mold if it's not for you. To each his own. Good luck to all those NaNo speedsters! Have a great week. :)

MaDonna Maurer said...

Thanks for stopping by today!
This is my first NaNo and I am fighting the urge to go back and edit. But I don't because of word count and because I just want to get the novel out of my head and onto the screen. But, I've learned a lot about my writing style during his process, so that has been good. =)

Christie Wright Wild said...

What great comments, guys! I tend to agonize about rough drafts at some point. But once the story starts coming together, I can't write fast enough. I love to revise. I think every story is different for me, too. I love writing the first drafts, but only after I know where they're going. Ahhh...the JOYS of writing! :)

Angie said...

I agree with Christie. Great comments! Thanks for the great discussion. I think it is so, so important to find out what works for you as a writer and then go with it! And I'm totally rooting for all you NaNo-ers to get your 50,000 words in, because that really is amazing!

Thanks, everybody for stopping by.

Stephanie McGee said...

I have to keep my internal editor chained while I'm drafting. If I didn't, it'd take me 8 years to finish each and every novel I ever undertake.

Jennifer Hillier said...

It's hard to keep my internal editor on lockdown, but I do try, or else the book will never get written. Which is why I'm better at revising than I am at first drafts. Oh well, at least I'm good at something!

Angie said...

Jennifer, we all have different strengths when it comes to writing. You just have to learn to use them. Thanks for stopping by!

Angela Felsted said...

Good discussion. I'm trying to develop my internal editor without destroying my creative voice. That's the trick I think.

Carolyn V. said...

I try really hard to keep my IE out of my first draft. But she keeps coming out and slowing me down. But it does make revisions so much easier! =D

WindyA said...

For me, whenever I first write out a scene, I count that as my "first draft" which means, that when I'm transcribing from notebook into computer, I'm supposed to be editing, as it is technically a "revision."

Keep that IE on. Mine doesn't have an off switch :)

Stacy Henrie said...

I've tried both methods - editing as you go and silencing the internal editor to draft - and right now I'm liking the second way better.

I stress about wanting it perfect the first time, so it cuts down on the stress when I wait to really revise until I've got the story written. It's fun to hear all the different ways people go about writing their books!

Angie said...

Yeah, I have to differentiate between the internal editor (who wants to make the story better) and the internal critic (who wants to make me give up in despair). The critic must be silenced at all costs!

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Angie, I've been struggling with my internal critic for the last couple of months. It helped when I turned off my internal editor, but I think that's in part because I'm revising a previous novel. When I draft new stuff, my internal editor is helpful and assists me in 'getting it right.' Good topic!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I can't just type out a first draft and not edit. It's just not me. I have to edit while I write, and I think it makes for a better story in the long run. People will probably totally disagree with me, but that is how I roll. :) Great post!

Angie said...

Good luck, Rosslyn! I hope your revisions go well. Chantele, I know what you mean.

AstonWest said...

Generally, I prefer leaving my internal editor on while writing, though combining that with a lack of free time means that novels take a very long time to finish the first draft of.

I'm currently in the middle of editing (fourth draft) on a past NaNo novel. With that, I was able to get 50K words accomplished in 30 days...with another of my novels (the third Aston novel), the first draft (granted, double the word count) took several months.

So, my guess is that I'll probably stick with keeping an internal editor around when working on shorter pieces, but turn it off for full-length novels. We'll see...

Angie said...

Yeah, Todd. It takes me a long time to get through a first draft too. My last novel took me 15 months. I'd like to cut that down a bit next time.

lotusgirl said...

I agree. That's part of why I don't do NaNo either.

Angie said...

Thanks, Lois.

dellgirl said...

Very interesting post, I like the way you put it. I write both ways.

I just came by to say hello. Hope you have a wonderful Weekend!

Angie said...

Thanks, Dellgirl! I appreciate you stopping by. Have a great weekend too.

Medeia Sharif said...

I used to let the draft pour out of me, but I find myself actually going back and fixing things before the draft is done. Still, I feel that I'm becoming a stronger writer by doing this.