Do you edit as you write?

One of the reasons I’ve never really finished Nanowrimo is because I get about 30,000 words in and just lose faith because the words are so awful! I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a perfectionist but I like to write, say 1000 words, then go back and edit those 1000 words before moving on to the next 1000. It’s the only way I can keep writing, otherwise I’m looking at a bunch of awful words and going… oh my god.

Is anyone else like this? Or are you perfectly fine churning out the words because you know you can edit them later? What is your process for writing and editing?

About jodiellewellyn

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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64 Responses to Do you edit as you write?

  1. I edit the previous day’s work before going on to write new words. It helps me process and figure out what’s coming next. I don’t write with much of an outline so I write quite slowly. But don’t worry about what other people do. Do what you do.


  2. sarahlearichards says:

    I am a perfectionist. It’s hard for me to just free write, unless it’s something short that I can immediately go back to and edit.


  3. Hi and thanks for the follow.

    No, I don’t edit as I write. Mostly I wrote poetry. My way of writing most of it is something I call “Method Poetry”. (smile) You know, like method acting. Sometimes I even close my eyes to REALLY focus on emotions and nuances while I tap away. So, no, editing would be too left brained during the process. Later however I go over it closely and do whatever clean up needs to be done.


  4. abandoned says:

    Hi Jodie, The editing trap is what kept me moving ahead with writing for so long. All of my stories got about a chapter/chapter and a half long and then I would be stuck editing, hating it, and never moving on. That is why I started my blog. Besides a little break for the holidays, having a schedule for posting means that I have a set time limit before I have to be ok with what’s on the page and just move on. I plan on re-editing the whole thing when the first draft is done.


  5. mbanks33 says:

    I thought I was one of the few who did this! For me, it’s after every 50 words or less!!!! I hate it when I do that. But it’s good to know my fellow colleagues struggle with this as well. (Helps to keep me stabilized!)


  6. Oh my god, I have to edit.

    I think 1000 words is about right; I’ll write something in a spurt, and when I run out of steam I’ll go back and read it, tweak it, and get an idea of how to continue. I find that I won’t go off track in my scene or chapter if I keep checking back to see where I’ve come from and compare that to where I want to end up. Editing helps keep the juices flowing for me.


  7. AleXai says:

    Sometimes I just write, sometimes I read a paragraph and say: what is this? What did I mean by that? So yes I guess I edit while writing it is quite difficult not to edit. All of us are perfectionists in the depths of our souls or at least we want our works to be as flawless as possible.


  8. I edit as I go. I know the experts say not to, but I can’t help myself. Now that I am writing poetry instead of trying to stories it works for me. I write until the thought stops. Then I read aloud what I’ve written and the next thought comes. If it needs to rhyme and I’m not sure what’s next, I write down words that rhyme and usually one will appear that opens the path. What sounds good in your head or on the page often sounds very different out loud. If it sounds good out loud, it will sound good on the page. I go back to edit, tweak, revise, expand, pitch…or (on rare occassions) just love it the way it came to me. Thanks for this question Jodie. I think I’ll talk about this topic in my April post.


  9. catsandog says:

    Being a teacher it is hard for me to not edit my work as I go along. I forced myself to think of my writing as a scene from a movie so I don’t interrupt the flow. When I get to the point where I can’t think of where it’s headed and can’t continue I stop and let it sit. The next time I write I reread the passage without editing and continue the scene. If what I have written doesn’t flow with the new writing, THEN I edit to polish my thoughts so everything makes sense together. And then another day I may just edit as that helps give me inspiration for continuing a “scene.” I don’t know how other people do it–I’m assuming I’m being very strange! But hey, if it works for me it might work for someone else! I guess I just let my ideas flow. That’s the short answer! Editing can be done at one sitting with no other writing–(on “off” days) If editing interferes with your writing, (ideas) then it’s not serving it’s purpose and you have to let it wait. Be the Artist you were meant to be–silence “the critic” when you create!!


    • dustomundo says:

      I used to be really bad about editing while I wrote, but though my first NaNo attempt was a failure, I learned something about my self: I can keep the words churning and edit later. However, the perfectionist in me is strongly protesting every step of the way..


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