Write Without Fear. Edit Without Mercy

The first draft of any novel I write is written without fear. I sit at the computer with a loosely plotted story idea, and as I work I allow my creative side to go where it wants to. Often times I find I’ve lost all sense of time and space. This is called writing in flow and is simply a magical time for any writer.

As the words come I frequently find that my characters have taken over, and I’m no longer in control of my story. Often it seems like I am only along for the ride. The characters have decided on the story direction. Sometimes it is in direct opposition to what I’ve plotted. Most of the time they are right, and I adjust my outline to include their ideas.

Years ago I used to fight them. Over time I’ve learned to trust them. And to give thanks for whatever part of my writer’s brain that is accessed. I have come to realize it’s a gift. I can’t control it, much as I’d like to at times. I simply now accept it for what it is.

If we can turn our internal critic off and allow our creativity the freedom it needs the results might just surprise and delight us.

I see writing as a right brain, creative process, and editing as a left brain logical function. When I edit I try hard not to have any mercy. I divorce myself from phrases, characters and anything else creative I’ve come up with during the writing stage of the book. I am ruthless. It takes an entirely different skill set to edit. I’d much rather write than edit. But both are necessary to produce quality work.

So let yourself be free during the creative process. Then when you edit, take charge of your work and edit fearlessly.

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