Writer Life Lesson #4: Write Now, Edit Later

Writing is hard work. On the good days, it’s like playing god in your own little universe, on the bad days, it’s like babysitting spawn from hell. Most of the time it all depends on the words we put (or don’t put) on the page. Writing should come easy. Put word after word until you have a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page, and so on and so on until you have a novel. HA! If only it was that easy!

Sometimes, we make writing harder than it has to be. We struggle with what words to put down on the page, what mood we want them to set, and what order we want them in. Sometimes, we put words down, and cross them out, or backspace until the page is blank yet again. Some days, it’s a wonder we get words down at all.

So how do we rectify this? Easy: Write Now, Edit Later

This lesson comes at the perfect time. The first session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April, and writing first and leaving the editing for later is what Camp NaNo is all about. The point of Camp NaNo, and its parent site NaNoWriMo is “literary abandon”. I take this literally to mean “write whatever comes to mind on that page and edit when that piece is done”.

So enough about Camp NaNo (There will be a post about that later this month), let’s talk about how to turn off the “inner editor” and just write.

Set a Goal- Well, look who’s talking about goals again! Laugh all you want, roll your eyes, whatever. Setting a goal works. What works best when having goals is setting one that almost seems out of reach. For some of us, that’s 2000 words and for others that’s 100. No judgement here, some days I can’t even get 5 words down, let alone 2000. So why a goal that seems just out of reach? If the goal is too easy, there is no challenge. If the goal is too hard, you will easily get discouraged. So finding the middle ground will motivate, but not discourage you in your writing endeavors.

Write as Much as You Can- Writing and writing skills, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, is a muscle. If you write as much as you can, you build that muscle and writing becomes easier, and you learn that your editor can take a vacation and you don’t have to doubt the words on the page. It might be difficult, but with time it will get easier.

When you start writing and just writing, saving the editing for later, you get more writing done and you start to finish more projects. When you write without the editor looming over your shoulder, you can enjoy your writing again, and it doesn’t have to be such a chore.Isn’t that what we all want from writing?

How do you silence your inner editor and write now?

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