#1: Don’t Edit While You’re Writing
You’ve probably heard this one time and time again: don’t stop to edit while you’re writing. It’s great advice, though many writers find it hard to stick to. It’s fine to pause and correct a typo, or restart a sentence, while you’re creating the first draft – but don’t keep going back to delete whole sentences or paragraphs.
I don’t think I would ever want to do this. I never have and don’t intend to. Writing and editing are two completely separate pieces of the equation. Furthermore, per Stephen King’s advice in On Writing (which is a fantastic and highly recommended read for any author in any genre) urges you to…
#2: Put Your Work Aside for a Few Days
Try to build extra time into your writing schedule, so that you can let your work sit before editing. With a short piece like a blog post, a day away from it – or even a few hours – is enough. If you’ve written a whole novel, try to put it aside for at least a week or two before starting the editing process. By doing this, you make it easier to see your work afresh. You’ll come up with new ideas, and you’ll find that you can spot chapters that don’t fit, plot holes, inconsistent characterization and other big-picture problems.
I leave a considerable amount of time between drafts. Basically, by letting the book percolate in my head and working on another project, I’ll ensure I give the next draft the full attention it deserves the next time I work on it. As of now, with four unpublished books, only two have been reviewed in the past year. It’s not that I love the other manuscripts any less, it’s just part of giving them time to ‘simmer.’ I don’t think rushing through the process is going to help my characters or the plot. Furthermore, no one in particular is waiting on my material to come out. Maybe they will in the future, but for now, I have the leisure of taking breaks. While I still write or edit every day, I only work on one project at a time (or I would probably go insane!).