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Backstage at the Blog: E is for Edit

April 5, 2014

Editing is where the magic happens. E-Copyright A Scenic Route

I consider myself a fast writer. I can slap down a thousand words in under an hour without breaking a sweat.  But when the Inner Editor looks over my words, perusing them with critical eyes and leaving snide comments, my progress grinds to a standstill. The editing pass weighs every word, examines every turn of the phrase, contemplates every comma. I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it. Is it really possible to spin this wordy straw into literary gold?

Check out the revisions on a little post I put up less than a month ago:

Screen shot 2014-03-17 at 7.13.06 PMAnd this is after I’d written the draft up in Scrivener! I never realized how many little nitpicks I make as I’m polishing a blog post until WordPress showed them to me. Whew!

I can only hope all these edits are a sign that I’m learning new skills and implementing them in my writing.

How about you? Do you get the ideas down fast, and fix it in post? Or are you happy with your first drafts just the way they are?

(Here’s your link back to the A to Z Challenge Sign Up list.)

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27 Comments
  1. April 5, 2014 8:23 am

    I’ve never been happy with the first draft of anything I’ve written. Ever. Not even emails. Not even blog comments! Argh!!

    • April 5, 2014 12:57 pm

      So I’m not the only one who edits her blog comments! I get so aggravated when I make a typo or error on a comment, that I’ve begun reading the longer ones out loud before I post them just to make sure. 🙂

  2. April 5, 2014 9:04 am

    Does it have anything to do with where we are on the OCD or perfection spectrum?? I think, YES!

    I do what you do – revise, revise, revise. Partly because I had a good writing instructor who insisted we cut useless words. “Tighten” was her mantra. Honestly, unless it’s an occasional rant posted in the heat of the moment, I appreciate writers editing their posts. Otherwise I start ignoring their content and critiquing their technique and eventually dropping them from my follow list..

    • April 5, 2014 1:02 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not alone in my perfectionism!
      I do like what I end up with after the edits, so I keep at it. And I’m so with you when it comes to sloppy posts. I’ve had typos go out in email, but I catch them the minute I receive the post in my email! Then I stew about my mistakes for weeks …

  3. April 5, 2014 11:47 am

    When I’m on a roll, it’s 350 words per hour. If I’m lucky. I envy your speed. The first draft is my least favorite. Once I have the ideas down on paper, then editing is a breeze.

    • April 5, 2014 1:05 pm

      I think more deliberate writers like you (I won’t use the word slow because every writer is so different in their process) tend to have less trouble in the editing phase. That kind of makes sense, since it seems part of the editing goes on as you’re writing draft.
      (Maybe.)
      I don’t mind the editing or revising; it just takes me a long time to get through it!

  4. April 5, 2014 1:27 pm

    I’m a slow writer – I don’t count words – I go by scene. What do I want to accomplish in this scene so my first drafts are ideas then I fill in as I go My internal editor is always on. And when final edits are due I worry over every word.

    • April 5, 2014 5:15 pm

      I don’t think I could write a word with my Internal Editor hanging around! He’s bad enough when I’ve got something on the page. 😉

  5. April 5, 2014 6:26 pm

    Let me re phrase that lol – I don’t mean like my editor for punctuation etc but I do read what I wrote to make sure it makes sense. I know people who can do a first draft with punctuation, quotes and paragraphing. I’ll never be able to do that!

    • April 5, 2014 7:22 pm

      Please don’t hate me, but my punctuation and quotes are relatively clean in first draft. 🙂 It’s the making sense part that I have trouble with, believe it or not!

      • April 5, 2014 10:16 pm

        nah I don’t hate you lol maybe we can help each other

  6. April 5, 2014 6:39 pm

    Kirsten, at one time I was afraid to change anything I’d written, but after persuading myself that nothing was set in stone, I do edit and edit …
    Some authors rewrite about five times and take years. I wish I felt I had enough years left to do this! I’m going to bed now, I feel I’m about to fall down!

    • April 5, 2014 7:24 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Fanny. 🙂 This challenge is wearing me out too!
      I have one story that I’ve revised four times now. Maybe the fifth time will be the charm?

  7. April 5, 2014 9:24 pm

    Oh my … that’s me … I blurt is all out, writing fast so I don’t forget something, and the words just keep a’comin!!
    I too have editing posts days after I posted them!!
    I have heard it helps to read your post backwards to catch the mistakes … but haven’t really tried that approach.

    • April 6, 2014 5:29 pm

      Hi Ordinary Hausfrau,
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      I read my posts out loud–frontwards– when I have the time. It really helps! But I write like you do, fast and furious, to get the idea on the page. Shoot first, ask questions later, as they say. 😉
      It’s nice to meet writers who are like me. 🙂

  8. April 6, 2014 12:21 am

    It totally depends on the post and the mood I’m in when I’m writing. If I’m really focused and on-task I can write a pretty polished post in one draft. I ALWAYS proof-read before I publish, however, and I do often edit–sometimes after the post has published. 😛

    My absolute favorite editing/proofreading technique is to read the post out loud. I often do this to my husband in order to get his feedback on the post (I bounce theological ideas or marriage posts off him a lot), and to see how the post sounds. I definitely catch more things reading aloud than reading silently!

    Stopping by from the A to Z 🙂

    • April 6, 2014 5:33 pm

      Hi Jaimie,
      Great idea on sharing not only the words but the content with your husband! I think, when reading silently, the eye tends to skip over things to get to the meaning.
      And I edit after posting all the time. 🙂 I have to restrain myself from going back to older posts from years past to get them up to speed, now that I’ve learned a thing or two about writing!

  9. April 6, 2014 4:52 pm

    Aha! I’m not the only one who revises my blogs x amount of times. My problem is, I still miss stuff. My inner editor I usually tell to go to hell, but my typo monster leaves out words, reverses letters…what the heck. Eventually, I just press post and try not to stress. Great work on A2Z, btw.

    • April 6, 2014 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Nancy! A to Z is crazy, but a lot of fun. 🙂
      I find that I make a lot more typos when I’m nervous about posting stuff–IOW, when it really counts I fall apart. 😦 I try to remember that my readers are usually a lot more forgiving of mistakes than I am!

  10. April 6, 2014 7:03 pm

    I usually fix my writing before I post on the blog. But when I do notice an error, it’s usually a couple of days later when I re-read it for fun… and I freak out and quickly edit it.

    • April 6, 2014 7:14 pm

      Hi Sara!
      I know the feeling. The trouble with me is, that I fix, and fix some more. And then fix a little more after that!
      It is fun to read the posts over later though, isn’t it? 🙂

  11. April 6, 2014 9:45 pm

    Rarely am I happy with anything on its first draft. I like editing when it comes to grammar and spelling, but not so much when it’s editing the writing itself. Editing is not my problem, though. Completing a piece is my problem.

    • April 7, 2014 6:50 am

      Hi Cheryl
      Welcome to A Scenic Route!
      Yes, Finishing … I’ve gotten some very good advice that encourages me to finish a piece before going back to edit. So I finish, but I’m with you when it comes to editing the content. It’s challenging!

  12. April 7, 2014 6:38 am

    I love to write freely and then edit later. Sometimes when I don’t feel like writing, I edit. Then at least I’m doing something productive.

    • April 7, 2014 6:52 am

      Great idea, Kristina! The two processes are somewhat different, aren’t they? Writing builds and editing fortifies. 🙂

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