With now over 80,000 words written, I never thought I’d say this, but I can finally see the end of the work-in-progress novel. I reckon I still have about another 20-25,000 words left, but for the last week, I have been writing none stop, locking down an average of 3-4,000 words a day.
If you know me, you’ll know this is an amazing amount of writing. I would normally write a thousand or two, and then procrastinate with editing it into shape instead of moving on. But finally I have put myself in the right frame of mind to just push on through and worry about the editing process later.
How do other writers do it?
For me, at least, the writing process has never been a smooth one. I will write something, edit it, edit it some more, make a few more changes, then edit it again, all before I can move on to the next section – and I don’t even mean that I’ll write a chapter and then edit that; I mean I’ll write a paragraph or a sentence and spend an entire age whipping it into shape before starting the next sentence or paragraph.
It’s a long winded process.
Lately, I’ve kicked myself into forgetting about the editing process and concentrating on the writing. You write, then you edit. Self-editing is a fine thing, but it needs to be left until the end. Why spend four years working on your first draft and editing it as you go along, because you’re only going to have to edit it again later anyway! So I’ve finally figured it out. You write, then you edit.
I know that sounds simple, but it’s hard to do when you’ve spent your life editing your own thoughts before you say them. But over the course of the last week or so, I have refused to self-edit and I’m finally putting words on paper. And you know what? It’s not half bad. It’s not half good, either, mind, but it’s there, it’s words. When I’ve finished the first draft, I can sigh in relief and then start the editing process safe in the knowledge that I have a full and complete story in front of me. Sure, it needs work – but it’s finished!
I’d love to hear from other writers and authors – what’s your process? How do you get to the end of that first draft in a timely manner?