I have talked to a number of people about what they are calling Writer’s Block, but I believe that they are confusing writing with editing. I believe that what many people call writer’s block is actually editor’s block. One of my best pieces of advice for writing is to remember this: There is a Time to Write and a Time to Edit – Don’t Try to Mix the Two.
Especially for the creative writer and the blogger, I advocate free writing. When I decide what my topic will be, I simply begin to write. I don’t pause to worry about how to spell this or that, and I don’t worry about commas. During the very earliest part of writing something, I don’t even spend much time trying to put the gerund phrases where they belong and trying to avoid splitting infinitives. This will probably sound odd to many, but throughout my writing process, I often close my eyes and simply type. When I am trying to describe something, that works especially well. It also works when I am trying to hush my Self-Editor. During the first stages of writing, simply write. Save the editing for later.
Just keep going like crazy and look back when it’s over. Otherwise you just get confused. – Cliff Burton-
Don’t get me wrong. There IS a time for editing. In my opinion, editing is not a pleasant experience and that is why we should never mix our editing with our writing.
“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.” ― Tiffany Madison
When you write, you should allow your mind and your spirit to flow freely. You should allow yourself to reach as far as you can reach and to explore. If you begin editing too soon in your process, you will prevent yourself from soaring, and you will slam your creative brakes too soon, thus starving your mind to death.
After you have finished writing, it is time to put on your gloves and to begin editing. For me, editing is much more difficult than writing. In fact, I KNOW that I have Editor’s Block. I’ll do just about anything to keep from editing my work, but even the most creative of us can edit as well as we can write. The two processes are simply different.
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” – Colette
While we are writing, we should allow our words to dance freely and when we edit, we should scrutinize ourselves, but we should never try to mix the two.
©Jacki Kellum August 15, 2016