Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Editing Monster - How to Conquer It

First draft.

Seeing those two words is enough to make any writer wince.  First drafts are fun, but always imperfect, flexible but always constricting.  In fact, they're beyond imperfect - they're AWFUL.  And most writers, including myself, are perfectionists.  This is not good for us.  During our first draft, we go crazy in the head for a while.

And it's all because of the editing monster. *hears distant maniacal laughter and shudders*  Who is this vicious beast, and how can he or she (in my case she) be conquered?

Who is she?

The editing monster is the desire, the itch, the demand inside of a writer to spend forever tweaking their work when they're not done with their first draft.

Why is she considered so vicious?

Some writers edit during their first draft all the time, but unless you know for sure that you have the self-control, I wouldn't recommend it.  Not if you want to be more stressed out than you already are with your first draft - not to mention spend even longer on it.  That's why the editing monster is a monster.  She'll do nothing but harm you.

What are her methods?

She pounces on you and bites when you're at your most discouraged, or slips on a guise of innocence when at you're at your most confident.

DISCOURAGED: Forget it!  Forget it all!  The only thing that will make me feel better is to get this one paragraph right! *spends a stressful three hours on that one paragraph*

CONFIDENT: Wow, things are going so well.  I have complete self-control now to look over that page and maybe tweak a few things.  *the stress returns with that simple choice*

How can she be conquered?

Unfortunately, the only way to defeat the editing monster is easier said than done.  You must practice stern discipline.  Here are some helpful things to do that put up a good fight against her sharp fangs.

1) Once you start typing, don't let yourself take a pause longer than a few seconds.  This will prevent you from reading what you've just written and freaking out over its mediocrity.

2) Listen to music.  It will provide a rhythm that will help your writing flow.

3) Talk the monster down in your head as if she were a real person.  (Not out loud, and not all the time.  Wouldn't want you to go mentally insane, now would we?)

4) Get your writer friends to encourage you.

What other ways have you discovered that have helped you conquer the editing monster?


  1. I kept meaning to comment on this, but kept forgetting.

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this post. I have had a lot of struggles with The editing monster, and so I found this a very helpful post. I tried some of the ways you listed about how to defeat her, and as hard as they were to follow (I had to repeatedly slap myself to resist the urge of rewriting sentences) I found them quite effective.

    Also, just wondering if you have any personally recommended songs for writing. I've found a few that help me but I'm always looking for more.

    1. I am soooo glad that you found this helpful! Just keep doing what works for you, and don't give up on the methods you've found are effective.
      I have some awesome songs for you to check out - well, instrumentals (songs without words). Songs WITH words tend to distract me a lot for some reason, so I always listen to ones with just cool and/or beautiful music.

      "First Light" by Lindsey Stirling
      "Prism" by Lindsey Stirling
      "Elephant Island" by Adam Young
      "The Highest Step in the World" by Adam Young

      I don't know if you're into instrumentals, but I find these really inspiring :D

  2. I really enjoy instruments. And I found these songs all very helpful, especially The Highest Step and First light.

    Thanks for the recommendations!


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