I had to laugh when I attended my writer’s group this week. I had shared the first scene from my novel and was telling everyone that when I begin a writing session, I usually read what I wrote the day before and then continue to write more.
An excellent writer in the group, Donna Hatch, looked at me and said, “You’ve got to stop doing that. Just keep writing. Get the words down.” Obviously her insight didn’t seep in the first time because I again told everyone how I often go back and add information I have forgotten.
Donna looked at me again and said, “Don’t do that. Don’t edit. Place asterisks in your paragraph with a reminder to yourself and keep writing.”
Each time she tutored me, the thought became more prevalent in my mind. I think she even admonished me a third time when I told the group I’m worried about writing a query letter that will snag an editor’s attention. But it wasn’t until then I finally got the point. I can’t even begin to tell her how much I appreciate the reminder.
We’ve all heard this counsel over and over again, and I know every one of you is far better at obeying such wisdom than I am. I guess I’m an editor at heart. I want to make my scenes as perfect as possible before I go on. But editing is a left-sided brain function that can stifle right-sided brain creativity. Unless one is exceptionally gifted and can use both sides of the brain at the same time, I think we should follow Donna’s advice and just get the words down.
I’ll say it again, for emphasis. “Just get the words down.” Now stop reading this and get to work.