Getting the Words Out

In the ongoing dialogue (which often sounds like a debate), surrounding the topic of editing on the fly, do you purge or draw when you write? Do you vomit your thoughts onto paper like a sticky regurgitation of the chaos crashing around your mind or do you delicately extract them as carefully as Dumbledore withdrawing a memory for storage?

My preference is getting the words out. Now. I usually can’t type fast enough. This isn’t really saying much cause I type really weird (six fingers on both sides of the keyboard). That happens when you teach yourself. I also key really hard – enough to wear the letters off the buttons.

Anyhow.

I’m a purger. Once it’s on the page then I can worry about tweaking and cleaning and sorting. It’s what I call the triage approach. Get the words (the patient) on the paper (the table) and suture or cut (edit) as needed. The process isn’t for everyone but it works for me. I can churn out a first draft pretty fast with this method. Of course it IS a first draft but then I’ve got whole cloth to work from.

I don’t think anybody uses only one process to reach their goal but most of us have preferences. I’ve got five first drafts waiting that I wrote in the last two years. As time permits, I pull one out and tweak it…if I’m not feeling jazzed about it – there’s another one, or I work on a new story.

Producing work is important to me. I like to keep my fingers in the pie, my foot in the pool, and my ear to the wind. Always thinking, listening and writing. Sure, I’ve got lots of crap. But I’ve also got some good stuff.

What’s your process? Do you churn out the words in chaotic glory or let them drip like honey from your fingers? How many first drafts have you got waiting in the eaves?

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  1. #1 by Cheryel Hutton on July 18, 2011 - 4:52 pm

    I get it out and then clean it up. Editing as I go doesn't work because my characters will change the story later and all my work will have been a waste of time and effort. So I let them do what ever they are going to, then edit behind them. As Nora Roberts says, "You can fix a bad page, you can't fix a blank one."

  2. #2 by Diana Murdock on July 18, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    I'm one to just write what comes out and go back later. Trying to come up with perfect words just clogs up my creativity. Even then, as I edit, I will still go over my work really fast to get the flow of it. Then, maybe after a gazillion go-overs, I'll start in on the word-finding.

  3. #3 by Kristal Lee on July 18, 2011 - 5:04 pm

    Lately I'm having problems getting words on the page and fixing the ones already there. I've stressed myself over the way everyone else is doing things rather than just doing it. I've got to get my groove back.

  4. #4 by Naomi Bulger on July 18, 2011 - 9:52 pm

    My preference is to get the words out and edit later, for the same reasons that everyone else has stated. But that's a discipline, and sometimes the editor in me just takes over. When that happens, the whole story grinds to a halt for a little while until I can shake it off. Very frustrating.

  5. #5 by Angela Orlowski-Peart on July 19, 2011 - 12:31 am

    Lesann, for me it is all about an inspiration. When I'm inspired the words pour out. I write write write and then edit a bit. I try not to spend too much time editing the first draft but I'm definitely not one of those wonderful writers who keep away from editing until the draft is completely finished. I'm also guilty of letting other things in life get in the way of writing – this often creates a nasty case of a writer's block.But then I look for a good inspiration and I'm back in business 🙂

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