Writing and Rewriting - Different Sides of the Brain?

Happy June 1, everybody! Hard to believe it’s here already! It also means my to-do-list now needs major focus, since I’m attending a national writer’s conference in late July.

Most seminars I’ve attended have agreed on this one thing: Writing and Rewriting/Editing use 2 different sides of the brain, and you have to approach each one differently.

I agree it’s important not to censor yourself while writing a first draft. Often that’s when serendipity occurs, and subsconscious thoughts float to the surface. Many times, I’ll be typing a first draft of a book or story, and am surprised when I look up to see how much time has passed. On the best days, I reread what I’ve written and wonder, “Where did THAT come from?” One can’t plan these moments; they simply happen, often when we least expect it.

Those are the joyful days, and we can’t have our ‘editing’ hats on during those first drafts. This made me put writing and rewriting into 2 different piles, and I always approached editing with a giant red pen and a harsh stick.

What I’m learning on book 3 is that a gentler touch is needed, but I still have to be objective. I write fast, yes, but I also use 30 words when 10 will do. So sharpening those scenes is key for me, yet I can’t beat the manuscript up with a bloody red pen so much that I lose all enthusiasm. (During my first round of edits, I had nightmares where I’d transformed into an enormous red pen…)

It’s a fine line, but I think the gentle touch is working better, as long as I’m objective and agree changes need to be made. So I’m focused on doing as many pages per day as I can, without shifting into a mood where I’m hating the process.

Try the gentler touch when polishing the art…see where it takes you!

  • So when can I see a draft?