I recently read an article by Ryan J. Pelton on Medium and for all you aspiring writers out there what he says makes a lot of sense. Here’s the link:
As I did with Ryan I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the subject as well.
I as well subscribe to the theory of editing as you go. I liken it to preparing a meal in the kitchen and cleaning as you go. When the meal is finished, you have a touch here and a wipe there and you’re done. So it is with writing. You struggle to get what’s in your head to the paper, and it’s a fight to the finish. Most authors (I for one) find themselves spent when they put that last period on the page. They’ve given everything they have during the creation process and now at the end of their masterpiece they discover they must summon up additional courage and strength from the depths of their soul to in essence, rewrite their labor of love. When I wrote my first novel I blasted through it; spending only seven months pounding it out until I reached the end and then spent the next three years in edit mode. What a horrible and yet rewarding experience that was! Rest assured, I learned a valuable lesson and I wished I’d read your pearls of wisdom way back then. My second novel came in much the same way to me, but this time I applied the same tactic I use in the kitchen; I cleaned as I went. There were times on the second book where I would tell my lovely wife, “I just wrote ten thousand words of sh@t.” Then after a day, sometimes even after two or three hours, I would sit down in front of the manuscript, highlight the onerous crap, hit delete and start anew. As you mention, it is a hell of lot easier to edit a much tighter work, and I for one have realized at my age that I would rather walk into a metaphorical clean kitchen when I’m ready cook than have to clean it up before I start.