It is often said, don’t edit while you write. It slows your writing progress and sometimes messes up your writing process.
But what about those little rewrites?
They are editing, but in a different sort of way.
Here’s what I’ve learned about my writing process. Like everyone else, I have good writing days, and bad writing days. But I discovered something. When I’ve written badly, I know it because it’s clear that I could have done better.
So after a bad write, I lay off for a while until I’m feeling better. Then I go back to my paper or computer, and rewrite what I’ve written before without as much as a peek at the previous. By then whatever scene or part of a plot I’m working on would have formed properly in my head.
Usually, it turns out better. A lot better than I hoped. Then I go back to my previous writing and compare the two, pick out some lines that I still deem useful and discard the rest. I do this rather than edit a bad writing, and so far, I love it.
This is my writing process (or a part of it).
The point is, I know bad writing days will always come. Does that mean that when I detect it’s a bad writing I should quit or let it frustrate me? Of course not! Writing when the day is good or bad is necessary to develop my craft. I’ve simply developed a plan to deal with it so that I can thrive. I’ve struggled with editing bad writing, and it’s not fun at all. So I’ve decided. I don’t edit bad writing.
Rewriting as my remedy.
So here’s a piece of advice, if you find that it’s too much of a struggle to edit what you know deep down is bad writing, then stop. Let it go. Start all over again. Rewrite that story, or that portion of the story that bothers you. Believe me, I’ve found it a lot easier.
And for the days when it’s a rainy day for writing, when you know you could do better, it’s okay. Go ahead and write for the sake of developing your skill. Whether it’s an article, blog post or a story you’re working on. When you feel better after an hour, a day, or even a week, rewrite. See how it goes for you. I’ve found it tremendously fulfilling and satisfying, and many times, surprised at how well it turned out.
So give it a try.
What plan have you developed to help tackle bad writing or a bad writing day? Please share in the comments.