Split Writing from Editing
When sitting down to write, something that confuses a lot of people is how slowly they progress. This is mostly done to two factors: they don't know what they want to write and they don't just write. Probably they know what they want to write about , but not what line of thought they are going to follow.
The first step is to design a skeleton of an article , and once you have it, you can start writing , non-stop. The best is not to stop to correct for mistakes, to re-write unclear sentences. Don't stop to check for references or numbers. If something is missing, just leave an empty space with a note for yourself. Write and don't look back. Perhaps some sentences will repeat, or the storyline won't be clear. It doesn't matter when you are writing.
Once you are done, the second step begins. Editing a text is a very different process from writing. The best is to take a break, don't edit right after you finished typing. Try to forget about what you have been doing to start seeing your text with fresh eyes. Now it is time to go through your words, polish sentences. The hardest part of editing is having a broad view and feeling of the entire text. Making it coherent, following a clear train of thought.
If the skeleton of the article was very well designed, there shouldn't be much problems with consistency, just with style and form. But, to be honest, in most cases we think while we write. This means that we didn't know what we were going to write before we actually did it. Just an in this paragraph, I didn't plan to be honest, it just happened.
This means that to give consistency, I will need to re-arrange paragraphs and sentences. Perhaps I even have to remove entire blocks of text because they don't serve the purpose I intended. If you are familiar with version control , you will be glad about how easily you can revert back changes. Deleting paragraphs always creates the feeling of what would happen if you want to go back. You will never be able to write those words again in exactly the same form that took you so long to achieve.
If you spend enough time planning the article you are about to write, editing should take you twice the amount of time it took you writing. Once the text is there, editing is only a matter of deciding how perfect you want to make it, but it is already there. If you mix editing and writing, the text will never be really there.
Do you like what you read?
Get a weekly e-mail with my latest thoughts, reflections, book reviews, and more.