September 24, 2015
You sit down to write and the prose starts to flow.
You hit a snag that makes you pause a second so you glance back at that last paragraph.
"That's not right," you think.
You've spelled a word incorrectly or your grammar feels off or you think you could say that better. So you stop and work on that paragraph.
Don't do it.
Move forward. Keep your head in your writing. Of course your will have typos and grammatical mistakes. Of course you can tighten almost every sentence you write. There will be time for that. That time isn't now.
There are at least two warring factions in your head while you're writing. There's the writer and then there's the editor.
You have to let the writer write.
There will be plenty of time for the editor to get involved and make things better. The activities are so different. If you are a new writer, you need to teach the editor that you will let them have their time. The editor doesn't trust the writer. The editor sees the writer as carefree and irresponsible.
The editor is right. The writer must be carefree and irresponsible. The writer must be free to fill the page. Then the writer stops and hands the pages to the editor. The editor sits, red pencil in hand, rolling their eyes wondering who wrote all this crap.
At some point the editor may stop and realize that the prose is not so bad. There's a flow - a style - a feeling to the prose.
The writer will never get to the point where the prose has flow, style, or feeling if the writer is not free to write. If the writer pauses every couple of sentences and yields to the editor the prose will never connect to a reader.
As you write, your editor will try to get your attention.
Don't even look up from your work. Keep writing. If you must respond, keep your head down but say, "Shhhh".
As you write, let your mind fly. When you pause in mid-air, glance around and spot the next thing to fly to. Don't look down. Your editor wants you to look down. Your editor wants you to notice that you haven't laid a proper foundation.
Have you learned nothing from Road Runner cartoons?
Don't look down and see that there's no bridge under you. That's when you fall.