I've read plenty of authors say you should never edit as you go.  Write the whole darned thing.  Don't second guess yourself.  Don't go back and try to be a perfectionist right from the start.

As I'm editing and proofreading, I find myself wondering about the merits of that advice.  I say, it depends.  Most instances, when someone says things like, "Do what feels right," I cringe.  Don't do what feels right.  Do what is right.  But in this instance, it's all about doing what's right for you.

So I ask, what is your rate limiting step?  Sure, editing takes a long time.  It has to.  But ask yourself what takes longer.  Does it take you longer to do all the editing at the end or to try to get the line editing and proofreading done as you write?  I think this is a personal choice, a question of personality.  Some will be wrought with insecurities and perfectionist stall tactics if they edited as they went.  Others, like myself, find the task of editing my own work far too daunting to tackle all at once.  When I see all of my 80k words staring me in the face, begging to be edited, it seems like too big a task to take on, even in small bites.  Especially with no writing to keep me company.

But I'm pretty sure I could do quite well if I wrote a couple chapters ahead, then sprinkled it with line editing and proofreading of the back chapters.  I'm not slowing myself down because I'd be doing the line editing and proofreading while I wouldn't be actively writing, while I'm coming up with ideas.  I always have downtime, even when I'm writing.  This would allow me to chop the more annoying parts of editing into smaller bits.  This wouldn't get all the line editing and proofreading done, but it would catch the bulk of the mistakes so when I went through the entire book, it wouldn't be so bad.

At least, that's what I think.  And it's what I'm going to try with book two.  What do you think?

Photo credit: Olivander / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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