After being a writer for over a decade now, there's a never-ending debate about editing and writing. Some writers claim that it is better to write first and edit later, while others would say that editing while writing is more efficient.
Which is better? Today, I shall put this age-long tedious debate to rest once and for all.
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Before we begin, let me address some controversies revolving around this topic.
#1: "Better Method"
"My method is better!"
Sorry to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a universal better method. What worked for you might not work for someone else. Why? Simply because our DNAs were coded differently.
For one writer, they find editing after writing better as it disrupts their writing flow less. They might also feel too stressed to edit while writing as they get easily fixated on fixing a sentence that the flow and pacing become completely destroyed.
Another writer might prefer correcting typos as they write or rewriting sentences as they craft the format out while they move their fingers. Looking at the words on the screen helps their brain to think better than sketching out the plot on a blank piece of paper as they go back to previous paragraphs to fix what they've written as they gain new insights. It is possible to edit while writing, contrary to some beliefs.
#2: "Stick to 1 Method"
Literature is constantly evolving. Art is constantly seeking the next new thing. Why should writers stick to only one method of writing or editing? We used to write on parchment, then paper and eventually moved to the typewriter until computers were invented. Editing and writing back in those days were tougher than today. Similarly, the editing tools continue to upgrade themselves alongside our writing software.
There's no such thing as sticking to one method and making that work for every work. You might write e-fiction the writing while the editing method might work well. However, when you decide to switch to writing a paperback, you might change your mind because you're going to need several rounds of editing and outlining.
Do yourself a favour, don't restrict your methods. Pick what works best for the project you're working on.
#3: "Cannot Switch Teams"
Similar to point 2, why stick to one when you can have both? Switching methods is only the start of it. Personally, I find a method of editing while writing and post-editing the best for my present work Godfather World. It's a hybrid editing method while two types of spellcheckers.
You can switch teams to your time management as well. I wouldn't want to disrupt a great writing flow with editing if I could push out 10,000 words a day. Instead, I'd wait to use my downtime to edit when I'm dead tired after work and have little motivation to write anything.
#4: "Works for Every Book"
Again, no editors or writers should stereotype a working method to any book. Sure, there can be similar profile types, but ultimately, every creation (unless plagiarised) will be unique in its own way.
Find a method that helps you complete the book at the best pace without too much stress. You want to bring the quality if you have the time to hatch the idea and polish it. However, if you are on a tight deadline, I suggest finding a method that works between the speed of delivery without too much of a quality dip. You may or may not have to use a method you are unfamiliar with in desperate times, and it may not be the most ideal. However, I believe in the benefits of widening one's skills.
Experience is the best teacher. Now that you have one more skill at your disposal, rejoice at the new power you gained!
#5: "Faster vs More Accurate"
The age-long argument between production and quality. I'd say that this is a personal preference. I won't consider myself a perfectionist, but people have told me I am quite the nitpicker. However, the difference between my expectations and other 'perfectionists' is the level of acceptance that there will never be a best. Instead, I create a system to filter out as many things I dislike from my writing and give myself a breathable deadline to work with. it wasn't the easiest thing to understand but after writing for a decade, I'll share with you how you can find your balance.
Firstly, if you have not read my blog about Types of Edits, you probably should if you're new to this.
If you're editing for an e-fiction with a pressing deadline and require the speed for quantity, read this.
If you're editing for a story that isn't an e-fiction and you have the time and power to trim, shape, delete, rewrite and correct the manuscript an infinite number of times, read this. It would increase the accuracy of your edits for first-time writers who are too broke to pay for professional editors.
Here's my word of advice about editing for everyone...
"Less is more."
Humans were never created the same. If the method works for you, stick with it. What worked for someone else might not work for you. Some writers need to edit after writing, while others must fix the problem they see at once. It's up to every writer to decide what works best. At the same time, our writing styles will evolve as we mature and grow. There's no need to stick to solely one method just because it worked in the past.