Writing and editing are fundamentally different processes and use different parts of the brain. For this reason, I always do them separately.
When I am in writing mode I like to let it flow. I hold nothing back. I pay no attention to grammar or sentence structure or paragraph size, I just take whatever is in my head and let it loose onto the page.
It’s like I’m blasting through the ground and forming a tunnel — I can always come back later to pave the road and make it look nice, but the bulk of the grunt work is now finished.
I also like to jump around a lot. I’ll often be writing one paragraph, get another idea, jump down to the bottom of the page, then back up to the other paragraph, then copy/paste a different one to change word order, and so on.
I let my ADHD work to my benefit, rather than fight it 😉
(Just to give you a sense of how true this is, here’s a gif of the document I’m working on as I write this)
Editing on the other hand is a completely different process. When I edit go into detail mode. I get analytical.
I become a self-critical dick who’s there to rip apart everything I just wrote before.
I’ll read, and re-read, and then read again. I cut sentences down and consolidate ideas. I remove redundancy. I’ll create symmetry in paragraph sizes. My third eye becomes activated and I scrutinize the energetic frequencies of the emotional response that I hope to evoke (Ok, maybe not that much, but you get the point 😃 ) .
Then once I’ve done all of this, I’ll take it over to Hemingwayapp.com and take another pass at it. Refinery round two begin!
I’ve had days where I completely re-wrote the article during the editing phase. I have a post that I think is ready to go and whoops! Self critical dick Troy comes in and needs to flip the script! All that hard work for nothing!
I also like to batch editing together with the “Optimizing”. This is the pictures that you add, the links you put in, the subscribe buttons at the end of the page, and so on. All the small details that help you to get the most bang for your buck with every post you put out there (I wish I was better at this part though).
Only once all of this is complete will I finally publish something. Whew! Now I can go back to being friendly to myself.
What’s the point?!?
The fact is, these are two fundamentally different processes.
When I write I want to have fun. I want to spill every single thought that I have in my mind onto the page. I want to channel every morsel of creative energy and capture my essence of self-expression.
When I edit I want to become an asshole. I want to critique my own writing and get rid of anything unnecessary. I need to chop away and leave only the essential.
This also applies to many other creative endeavors as well. If you’re a videographer, go out with the intention of capturing as much footage as possible, rather than getting the perfect shot. If you’re a photographer, focus on taking the pictures as one day, editing the pictures in another, and writing captions for the pictures as a third day.
All of these activities require different parts of your brain – use that to your advantage instead of trying to blend them together.
The fun guy and the skeptical asshole never get along well in collaborative environments. When you try and get them to work together, confusion is inevitable. If you work in this way you hold yourself back and become your own worst enemy.
Don’t be a hindrance to yourself. Write and edit on separate days 🙌
Also published on Medium.