How to Write a Book – Part Three

How to Write a Book

Editing as you go and inspiration

Now you’re finally underway and making good progress with your writing you may find that nagging urge creeps up on you, enticing you to go back over the beginning part and see how it reads; maybe even do a little editing. Stop!

I used to be terrible for doing this and most of the writing tips I’ve read on various blogs discourage ‘editing on the go’. Again, I’d like to point out that everybody has their own methods and style when it comes to creative writing so I’m not going to point blank tell you that’s the wrong way to do it. Instead let me share my experience of editing on the go with you.

I’m a perfectionist, so naturally wanted to keep going back over what I’d written to polish it and make it, in my eyes, perfect. What I didn’t realise was that this was interrupting the creative flow. I would get going at a steady pace and suddenly stop to do a little bit of editing. Then I’d have to build up momentum again and continue the writing process. As you can see this is a very disjointed way of doing things and after taking on board some writing advice I changed my ways. It’s not an easy thing to do, changing a bad habit, but I persevered and I think it has paid off. Now I write and continue to write until I reach the end, wherever that may be. Only then do I start the process of editing. I’ve found that this has helped me in two ways: firstly my flow wasn’t interrupted and my creative thought process was made easier, and secondly, by the time I came to editing my work I was looking at it with fresh eyes and the mistakes within were a lot more apparent, with necessary edits springing immediately to mind.

So in summary, if you do edit on the go I would urge you to try this yourself and continue writing, leaving the editing until the end. I think you will see a marked difference in the quality of the end result.

Which brings us on nicely to inspiration, something that I believe is essential for dealing with writers block. I take my inspiration from what I read and the programs and films I watch on the television. It’s important to always take that inspiration and make it your own but there’s certainly no harm in using prompts from elsewhere. Music is also a massive stimulus for me and really helps get me in the mood for writing. I use various types of music to prepare me for different scenes I am about to write or am in the middle of writing. Most of the time I listen to film and game scores, the mood of the music willing me to write more and get those words onto the page. Inspiration is important and one of the greatest tools of a writer.

Why not let me know what inspires you to write and share what music works best for you?

In part four of ‘How to Write a Book’ we will be looking at what to do with that first draft once you’ve finished it.


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