Have you ever stared blankly at your computer screen, begging inspiration to guide your hands as you write?
You notice a stray comma in the first paragraph, so you fix it quickly. Then back to staring. You then see that you wrote “usually” twice in the same sentence. It only takes a second to change that, and then you’re back to staring. The introductory sentence could be better, so you rewrite that. Then you stare again.
Are you noticing a pattern?
In her YouTube video, “Stop Editing as You Write!” Eloise Knapp nails down the main reason authors take so long to finish their writing: constant editing.
Knapp created her video in honor of “NaNoWriMo,” or National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo.org, a non-profit group, challenged authors to write a novel in the month of November. Though the video was posted for NaNoWriMo participants, it has far-reaching implications for all writers.
Knapp encourages a near free-writing style, in which authors type out their work without editing. She asserts that ALL revisions should be made AFTER the author has finished writing.
Knapp remarks that editing during the writing process is highly addictive, particularly if it is a “quick-fix,” such as misplaced punctuation.
Yet these tiny revisions start to add up, and writers may accidentally spend more time perfecting a single paragraph than actually writing. While Knapp acknowledges that editing is invaluable and necessary, it may hinder writers from producing content.