Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Don’t Edit ~ Just Write!

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Don’t Edit ~ Just Write will be my mantra during the thirty days in November called, NaNoWriMo. I know the only reason I met my first NaNoWriMo challenge in 2010 was that I didn’t try to edit as I wrote. I knew if I did, I wouldn’t reach my 1667 word count each day and when that happens, I would be trying to play catch-up and the white flag would be waved.

For myself, when I edit as I write, I begin to question my abilities, which is equivalent to turning off the faucet and stopping the story flow. My mind fills with self-doubt: “This story will never get published.”  Then criticism, “This story line is going nowhere fast.” When these thoughts fill my mind, creativity comes to a screeching halt, as well as my motivation. Losing motivation during NaNoWriMo is like driving with your parking brake on, you might move, but not at a pace to reach your destination on time.

With that said, I have a difficult time leaving a trail of red squiggles underneath typos and other errors that Word is dying to bring to my attention. Simple typos I can fix during NaNoWriMo, but if I find a problem that requires major work, I might not know how to fix it and this will eat up time, so I need to ignore it for now. In order to meet this 50,000 word challenge, I must allow my creative brain to overpower my critical brain, at least for the month of November.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

15 thoughts on “Don’t Edit ~ Just Write!

  1. I love reading your blog. I am exactly the same I over analyse my abilities when I edit and it can kill the creative faucet (or tap in England), I think it’s going to be just as much of a challenge to switch that part of my brain off. The second challenge will be typing with a german keyboard, as I am still not use to that yet.

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  2. I’m doing NaNoWriMo too! Good luck! 🙂

    I agree, I remember when someone told me that editing uses a different part of the brain separate from the part that writes things. So I’m looking that part away just for November! 🙂

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  3. Good luck with NaNo. I’m not doing it this year because I’m working on two different projects, but I’m at the beginning of both, so I really need to follow the advice of not editing as I write. Gotta get words on the page!

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  4. Thanks, Cindy! Good luck with your two projects. I hope November will be a productive month for you.

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  5. Good advice, and as you know, one of the main habits I’m trying to cultivate with nano! It’s amazing how paralysing it can be if you read over what you’ve written while you write.

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  6. I think both of us can put the editing aside in November. We’ll keep reminding each other. 🙂

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  7. I have a lot of trouble not editing, too, but sometimes it helps me keep writing – I look over what I wrote the day before, fix it up a little, and then use that as a springboard to keep going. Other times, though, I’ll fall into the “this is terrible” editing trap, too, so it’s always hard to find that good balance. Good luck in November!

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    • Thanks! November will be crazy, but it’s fun. That’s a good strategy, to look over and edit what you wrote the day before, it helps to get you back into the story. You’re right and I have a feeling during the month of November, I’ll be saying “this is terrible” many times. 🙂 Maybe next year you can give it a try.

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  8. That’s really the only way to go, although I do clean up my typing; once I was so in the zone, finishing a book, I left it all until that edition of Word suddenly flashed a notice that I couldn’t type any more due to too many errors! 🙂

    Thanks for all that sport support. Now, who are your fave teams?

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  9. I realize this is late to the party, but I only just now found your blog…

    I don’t tend to write in word anymore, but I would suggest turning off the auto-correct and error detection while writing in November if it is something that distracts you. Word wants you to keep these things on because it makes you feel like the software is doing something to help you. However, if it distracts you, it certainly isn’t helping.

    The method to do this varies by version, but on Word 2007, click on the windows button and choose “Word Options” and the auto-correct and detection features are under Proofing.

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  10. That’s one reason why I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. I edit and rewrite like crazy while writing. That’s the way I write. But I sure do admire those who can do a first draft with no editing. I don’t think it would speed things up for me. My draft would be such a mess, I’d have to toss it in the trash and start over.

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    • What I’ve discovered is you’ve got to do what works best for you. If editing as you go works for you, then no, NaNo isn’t for you.

      Oh, believe me, Elizabeth, both of my NaNo projects are a complete mess and yes, it’s been tempting to toss it. 🙂

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