If you go back and read through some of my earlier posts, before the whole A-to-Z thing, you’ll see a couple where I talk about what it’s been like as I struggle to keep my nit-picking self-editor from analyzing and editing and revising as I go. I’ve gotten better, but it’s still a habit I have to work hard to stop myself from falling into.
What I’m describing is the incessant need to go back over what I’ve written and work on editing it. This is a huge frustration and waste of time for me because I realize that I might end up not using huge chunks of my first draft in my final manuscript and oh-what-a-waste of time that will be to fuss and correct structure and things in a section that could face the chopping block anyway.
I rewrote my first chapter three entirely different ways so that I could figure out which way I liked best to continue the story from.
I know this is important. Yet it’s still something I have to stop myself from doing. I have tried not to read what I’ve written in my last writing session and just jump right back into things from where I left off, but that doesn’t always work either. I need a bit of time to readjust from real life and get back into writer mode after my brain has flipped that switch for 8, 10, or 12 hours. I feel like the first thirty or forty minutes of my writing time is spent just settling my brain down and getting to work. I don’t hit my stride until I’ve been at it for nearly an hour. After that point, I can go non-stop for a long time, but as soon as I take any sort of break, no matter how much I need it (food, bathroom, sleep…) when I get back to the computer, I’m almost instantly into Editor/Critic mode again.
I’ve set myself on a schedule where I permit myself two hours of editing twice a week and no other time so that I can try to wean my perfectionist brain off of editing and revising as I go. That’s been helpful so long as I can keep myself on that schedule.
So these are a couple of the things I’ve tried, and sometimes they work, but at this point I’m still making Editor/Critic brain shut up and wait her turn.
She’s so impatient.
I don’t want to lose my Editor/Critic brain because I am going to need her after the draft is finished, and she’s really very good at what she does. I just wish she’d back off and wait until I’m ready for her to bring out the red pens and erasers.