Why I Don’t Edit During First Drafts

I have discovered that if at all possible it works best for me to write a quick first draft and not allow myself to do any editing until six weeks after I’ve written The End. When this happens I end up having to do a lot of rewriting and cutting and adding, but it’s worth it, even if I do trash thousands of words and add in whole scenes to replace them. 
Why this works best for me:
~Keeping the flow going while I’m writing helps my thoughts stay in tune. My brain loves to jump from place to place so sometimes I even write a note to myself on my WIP to come back in and finish a scene later on and then I skip ahead. Writing it all in a timely manner keeps me from having too many misfitting scenes.
~When I’m in the writing zone my thoughts are extremely different from when I’m in the editing zone. It messes up my rhythm to try and change back and forth. 
~I thrive on starting and finishing something. Working on one draft at a time and having concrete starts and stops works a lot better then merging the two.

~I’d rather get a first draft written quickly if at all possible. I can generally (sometimes, anyway) think of other story ideas while editing, but I try to focus solely on the story at hand while I’m writing.

~My inspiration doesn’t flow nearly as well if I’m paying attention to typos or grammar or plot holes.

~I make needless edits because I don’t know where the story is actually going to end up, or the exact routes it’s going to take to get there.

~It takes so long when I’m writing and editing then I lose my drive and enthusiasm for the project more often. (Meaning I take breaks from the book a lot.)

~I plain and simple like dividing the writing part and the editing part.

* * *
What about you? Do you write and edit at the same time? If so, why? If not, is it because of some of the reasons I listed? Oh, and don’t forget to fill out this survey for your chance to win a gift card (and to help me out!). 

9 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Edit During First Drafts

  1. Bekah says:

    Thank you for sharing, Aidyl. On a normal basis, I write the first draft and come back later and make changes. Unless a scene is really bothering me and I feel like I can't continue on with the story without fixing it, I usually just leave all or most of the correcting until after I finish the first draft.

    Hope you have a great day!



  2. Ashley says:

    I have a serious problem with trying to edit too much while I write. It definitely makes it hard to get in the writing zone. Maybe I should try to cut back it on my current story. Thank you for sharing!



  3. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I'm 100% with you on this. ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY. *nods* I never edit while drafting. In fact, I'll make huge changes and not even pause to make notes for myself…which can be a bit of an issue?! hehe. Once I just switched out the villain in the middle of the draft. And in my last dragonish book, I totally swapped some of the kids parentage without ANY foreshadowing or build up *facepalm* Edits are going to be fuuuuuun for that book. (NOT.)
    But editing while drafting totally kills my inspiration. *nods* Actually editing in general kills me. xD Yet here I am….about to launch into rewrites on the weekend. GAHHHH.


  4. Tarissa says:

    I see your point on editing — I know that editing can detract from just getting the first draft written out. Sometimes though I happen to think of something I wrote early on in the story, and it has just GOT to be fixed before I write the ending, you know? 🙂


  5. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    Ah yes, those scenes that are really bothering… I'm actually quite good at making myself ignore them and move on to the next thing. I think it's easier for me because I am far from being a perfectionist.


  6. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    Oh me oh my. That does sound like a problem. I'm not sure if I make *that* big of changes without any warning, but who knows? I haven't gone back through and read my last book yet so I might find out that it has way more plot holes than I had imagined… Have fun editing!


  7. Esther Filbrun says:

    Can I, like, completely steal all of your points? I SO AGREE! I might make notes to myself, I might not–sometimes I enjoy writing so much that I don't want to take time to jot down any notes. Finding my way from “A” to “B” is so much fun, even if I'll delete it all in the end–especially when my characters are under just a little stress.


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