I started project C (not the real title) on April 1st and finished June 22nd with 94,500ish words! This is the second time I have powered through to quickly write a manuscript in a relatively short time period. So, I wanted to talk about my experience and what I like and don’t like about writing with reckless abandon. (NO EDITING!)
My first manuscript, Project B was 58,000+ words and took me 57 days to force feed to my computer. Project C was 94,500ish words and took me 83 days. I took more days off with Project C and I’m glad I did. But with both, I did what many writers are advised to do, write without editing along the way. I would sit down, check my outline, start writing and never look back. That means zero edits along the way.
It’s pretty common for aspiring writers who edit as they go to get stuck in an endless cycle of write, edit, rewrite, edit, edit again, write, edit again, edit… you get the picture. This cycle can make it impossible to complete a story. I’ve done this in the past and spent two months on the same three chapters. Yikes! Write, edit, rewrite, repeat. Making no forward progress. So, I decided to try writing without editing along the way.
If I get held up at a spot I just put a (short description of scene) or (some sciencey stuff I’ll think of later) with some handy dandy brackets around it and tell myself I’ll get that on my second draft. Now that I have completed Project C and I’m well under way editing it let’s talk about the pros and cons of writing with reckless abandon.
-I finish the thing!
This seems like the top Pro to me. Because no one's publishing unfinished books!
-Sense of Accomplishment
Every chapter I finish spurs me on toward the finish line.
-It Happens So Fast
At the beginning of April my book didn’t exist, now it’s a fat stack of paper on my desk!
-Nice and Organized in my Brain
When I’m not doubling back to edit it’s easier for me to keep my story straight and chronological in my head. I see the way a reader will receive it.
-There’s No Time for Self-Doubt
Well, not very long at least. No time to look over your work and tear yourself apart. Just keep writing. Self-doubt is a problem for future Jamie.
-Plugging Plot Holes
I am a planner so my outline really “should” prevent this from happening with major plot points. But if there’s a plot hole early in your novel and you didn’t know, it might mean a heavy overhaul of the whole thing! Gross.
-I Don’t Make Sense
Evidently when I get really in the writing zone my brain moves faster than my fingers and what ends up on the page has to be deciphered later. Which can be challenging if I wrote it over a month ago and I can’t remember what I was trying to say. (Embarrassing but true.)
I get so focused on plot points and getting my story on paper I don’t realize I’ve stopped writing with any sense of finesse. My screen writer, robot brain takes over and it comes out like a bunch of screenshots and me directing my characters like actors. Oops.
-The Rough Draft is Real Rough.
I know that all writers feel this way but Oh Man! That rough draft felt like garbage just waiting to be tossed out. I can’t help but wonder, if I did some light editing along the way would it be slightly more readable?
Over all I’m just glad that I have a finished, albeit very rough, draft to work on. That said I think I’ll be trying something slightly different with my next Project. If anyone has tips or tricks that help them while writing I would love to hear them.
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