Friday, Nov 09, 2012

Friday Fix (Craft): Creating vs. Editing

Writers sometimes complain to me about the fear they encounter when writing.  They find themselves stuck in the middle of a passage and cannot move forward.  When I point out to them that they are confusing creating with editing, they are surprised. 

The creating process and the editing process are two different aspects of writing.  The creating process taps into the right brain, and the editing aspect taps into the left brain.  When we try to create with the left brain or edit with the right brain, we end up unable to move forward. 

Here is my advice to writers who struggle in this area:  

1) Pour out your story on paper.  Do not worry about errors of any kind, be they punctuation errors, grammatical errors, structural errors, or whatever.  Just get your story out. 

2) Once your story is on paper, then and only then begin the editing process.  

Some writers insist on editing as they go. If you are such a writer, I would suggest that you pour out an entire scene or chapter on paper and then go back to edit it before moving on to the next scene or chapter.  

When we use the right brain for creating and the left brain for editing, our writing will go much more smoothly.  A word of caution, however.  The left brain–called the Critic–will attempt to impose itself on the right brain while you are creating. Do not allow it to do so.  Tell the left brain it will have its opportunity to assist you only after the right brain has done its job. 

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