Do you prefer writing or re-writing?
For novels, my method is “Write a chapter. Next day, read what I wrote the previous day and fix any mistakes or typos. Write the next chapter. Repeat until novel is done.” No rewrites. One draft. For better or worse, that’s how I do it. The thought of rewriting a whole novel is unimaginable to me.
I don't know that I could separate the two. It's all writing to me until I sit back and say, okay it's a finished story. I suppose at some point it becomes editing when I've finished, but I start back at the beginning. I don't really mind it.
My other suggestion is to have other non-writers, preferably avid readers you trust, provide feedback. I listen for things like, "I don't understand this part," or, "Would someone really react that way," and that sort of feedback. That helps me think more about the need to strengthen the story instead of thinking about it like it's editing.
As a non-native speaker I can’t really go without editing. It’s all one process to me because I can’t possibly make the prose done from the first attempt. I like writing the first draft because it’s when the story builds up, but rewriting and editing are also joy because this is where I can play with prose, words, rhythm , etc. Many dialogue improvements also surface while editing. I also agree with you that letting a text marinate for a while helps future editing a lot.
Can I change my answer?
Interesting! I generally edit quite a bit as I write, and write as I edit. There really is no purely creative or purely corrective phase in my process. It's all a jumble. I'm constantly throwing down ideas, rearranging them, searching for better words, revising sentence structures, deleting paragraphs, adding new ones. Then I set it aside, go back to it and attack it the same way, but hopefully... less. When I'm out of ways to add or subtract, I'm done. However, the idea of rewriting anything sounds like a nightmare, and I'd probably scrap a project before I'd start one over from scratch.
I think I’m most excited when I’m planning and brainstorming. All those what ifs is great fun. Then after I’ve got that out of my system the writing part is the hardest for me. But if I can get through that rough draft, I enjoy the editing. Getting it just right. But between draft and editing, there needs to be time to forget it. Stephen King suggests 12 weeks to come back fresh and I think that’s a good amount of time. I often wonder if I shouldn’t just find a writer for my draft and then it’s all there for me to thrash it to my liking!! But that feels like cheating 😅
The initial writing stage - that initial white-hot process of banging out the ideas - is definitely that fun part. Editing and refining needs to happen, and it's valuable as hell, but it's definitely more of a slog.
But it's the same with VFX creation or audio/video editing. That first pass of banging it all out and getting the initial creation into shape is blissful. Then it's taking 80% of the time to finish off that last 20% - which is the same as the book edit process.
Editing is hard because I don’t see the story as it is, but I see the background material and planning as well. Then, making small changes, like moving something from one chapter to another, can break consistency way too easily. Then, the rhythm of your piece gets thrown off.
Editing is brutally hard. I want to write a program like a programmers “ide” to help with this one day but it’s such a big project I might never get it going. Such a thing will exist one day though
I like both, for different reasons. The creation of the story has its own thrill, but going back through and fixing any problems--I find that I am one of those folks who does a great job with revisions.
I prefer writing over editing. I've been studying and trying out different techniques to find some joy in editing. It's been helpful and I'm finding editing easier lately. It can still feel daunting and uncertain at times
I absolutely prefer editing at this point in my writing career. As a pantser, that initial draft is little more than a brain dump. While I write linearly, it still ends up a pretty big mess, but I kind of secretly like cleaning up messes. It gives me this weird sense of satisfaction when I finish to have something to put together.
Feeling this. I’m editing a novel also at the moment. I keep wondering if there is some better AI editing tool that I’m not aware of... Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell is great editing inspiration too.
Editing on your own can be a real pain, I find it's better to have someone else read and make notes, then go in so you're responding to someone rather than doing the busy work of deciding if you like what you wrote. Of course getting that kind of feedback without paying a professional can be hard at times if your friends all get busy. Though I also find rewriting more enjoyable in general.
I’ve learned to enjoy the editing process lately. But it took me a good decade to realize I needed to at least try to like it haha
I love writing, and hate editing. But all my successful writer friends tell me I need to learn to love editing. Better get to it.
I'm with you, I kinda loathe the problem. I'm fortunate in that I've not (yet) had to do the whole rewrite thing (had to do/realised I should have done), even the thought makes me itch. I do totally get the different medium - I find having it read to me by Word helps with a lot of missing word issues, those words my brain insists on telling me are definitely there everytime I read it. Plus, it's great fun hearing swear words read out by a robot.